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RVC 2024: A travel agents’ guide to selling Indigenous travel

Travellers today seek genuine connections with local cultures. This is where Indigenous tourism in Canada shines. But how can travel agents ensure they're offering authentic experiences? This guide will get you started selling Indigenous tourism the right way.

Travellers today seek genuine connections with local cultures. This is where Indigenous tourism in Canada shines. But how can travel agents ensure they’re offering authentic experiences? This guide will get you started selling Indigenous tourism the right way.

More and more travellers are seeking authenticity and a connection with local cultures, Destination Canada Australia Managing Director Julie King told Karryon at this year’s Rendezvous Canada (RVC).

“Travellers want to know they are adding value to communities, not taking away from them,” she said.  

“They seek enriching experiences that contribute positively to the community and environment.”

But how can agents ensure that the product they are selling is the real deal?

Ask ITAC

When it comes to Canada, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) website is your first port of call. 

Here, you’ll find resources like:

  • ITAC itineraries
  • Images and other assets
  • Help with itinerary design using the map on Destination Indigenous 
  • Access to ITAC’s Travel Trade Facebook Group
  • Famil requests
  • A list of receptive partners such as Jonview
  • Contact with ITAC staff who can also answer questions and provide any information you need to create an itinerary for your FIT clients or groups

*Important note: Indigenous is a term used in Canada to refer to the descendants of the original inhabitants of the land and includes First Nation, Métis and Inuit People. While Indigenous is a term of preference to some people, it is always best practice to use the nation or home community. If in doubt, ask!

The Original Original

Unfortunately, not all Indigenous tourism experiences are created equal. Some businesses may offer superficial interactions that don’t truly represent Indigenous cultures.

That’s where The Original Original comes in. The Original Original is a brand mark that aims to help travellers better identify and book experiences from Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Canada.

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The cornerstone of The Original Original is its rigorous accreditation process. Businesses that display the The Original Original mark have been vetted by ITAC against strict criteria, guaranteeing:

  • Indigenous ownership: At least 51% of the business is owned by Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
  • Cultural authenticity: The business actively embraces and shares Indigenous values and traditions.
  • Market-ready experiences: The tours and activities offered are high-quality and meet the expectations of discerning travelers.

Why choose The Original Original?

  • Offer unique itineraries: Distinguish yourself by providing clients with unparalleled access to authentic Indigenous experiences.
  • Support a Thriving Industry: Indigenous tourism is a vibrant part of Canada’s travel scene. Your bookings empower Indigenous communities.

How to get started:

  • Explore verified operators: Visit DestinationIndigenous.ca to browse a comprehensive directory of “The Original Original” certified businesses.
  • Download campaign materials: Enhance your client consultations with downloadable brochures and videos showcasing the power of Indigenous tourism.

And remember, authentic Indigenous Cultural Tourism is by Indigenous People, not about Indigenous People.

For more information, head to https://indigenoustourism.ca/travel-trade/ and https://destinationindigenous.ca/.