More than 700 delegates from around the world gathered in Kelowna for Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s 8th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC), which was held November 12-14, 2019. The conference was hosted on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Nation, in partnership with the Nlakápamux and Secwépemc Nations, and with support from Indigenous Tourism Association of BC, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Tourism Kelowna.
Held at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, IITC delivered three days of content based upon the conference theme of “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.” Strategic partnerships and business development were key topics, as was the lack of supply of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences, which is intensified by growing demand.
Tourism Kelowna sponsored the welcome reception on Tuesday night, which included four Indigenous culinary stations from the newly formed Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations as well as an Indigenous fashion show. Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, welcomed delegates to Kelowna and ended her speech by showing our newly completed Indigenous video, showcasing local syilx culture and connection to the land:
Several announcements and key initiatives occurred at the conference including:
- The signing of the Indigenous Tourism Accord, a partnership between Indigenous Tourism BC and the B.C. government.
- The announcement of a $100,000 commitment from WestJet to help grow Indigenous Tourism across Canada.
- The launch of a new Indigenous culinary tourism strategy.
- The unveiling of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association’s (TOTA) Indigenous Artisans’ Trailer (IArT).
- The launch of TOTA’s Regional Pledge, “Seven Affirmations for Seven Generations.”
The conference concluded with the Indigenous Tourism Awards gala; for a list of award winners, click here. Congratulations to all the winners!
For more information on Tourism Kelowna’s support of IITC, or for information on our meetings and conferences programs, contact Jennifer Horsnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 861-1515 ext. 205.