As we return to travelling once again, it’s tempting to jump on the quickest deal or all-inclusive mega-resort experience, however Indigenous Tourism BC has an abundance of intentional travel experiences that aim to enrich, educate and inspire.
Intentional travel strives to balance tourism’s social and environmental impacts while raising awareness of experiences that restore and rebuild communities, contributing to local citizens’ livelihoods and preserving and protecting the culture in the process.
Indigenous Tourism BC has developed some ideas around intentional travel.
The journey is as important as the destination
Many of Indigenous Tourism BC’s travel destinations are located in stunning places that are as interesting to travel to as the location itself.
Local operators such as Indigenous-owned Gulf Island Seaplanes serve to connect some of B.C.’s most remote communities, including locations on Gabriola Island, De Courcy Island, Thetis Island and Ruxton Island, all the while sharing information about the land and people en route.
Choose travel experiences rooted in purpose
One of the ways society can move towards truth and reconciliation is through travel.
Reconciliation is a journey both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are urged to take together, raising awareness of the history told by Indigenous people as well as experiencing the incredible array of Indigenous artists, storytellers, guides, chefs and more.
Moccasin Trails, based in Kamloops, recently introduced a new five-day tour that includes a traditional welcoming by the Syilx Nation, local cuisine and wine experiences, a Secwépemc-led workshop and an educational residential school tour.
This tour provides the opportunity to hear firsthand stories from those who went to the school when it was in operation and learn about the atrocities Indigenous people suffered during that time.
The tour finishes with a visit to Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre — a state-of-the-art architectural structure where visitors can explore the arts, walking trails and the rich living culture of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Consider accommodation that educates
An abundance of Indigenous-operated accommodation options are available for travellers seeking Indigenous hospitality. One example is the historical home at Cluxewe Resort, located on the ancestral land of the Kwakiutl First Nation, just north of Vancouver Island’s Port McNeill.
Featuring self-contained water-front cottages, suites and camping options, Cluxewe Resort offers pristine nature-viewing with spectacular vistas, coastal birds and sea life. The rich history of villages from centuries ago remains on this land, making it a must-see for history buffs, as well.
Explore Indigenous culture through the palate
Indigenous World Winery in Kelowna shares its heritage and story through the tastebuds of its visitors. Combining the unique terroir of the valley and the Indigenous people’s knowledge of the lands, every effort is made to produce world-class wines in a respectful way to the environment and its people.
The unique agriculture of the lands in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys was formed over time with glacial ice, volcanic eruptions and geological events, producing an in-credible area of the world that produces excellent quality wines.
Get immersed in nature
West Coast Expeditions, based in Courtenay, is a leader in marine ecology and cultural tours in British Columbia, providing diverse Indigenous coastal experiences. From flexible family kayaking excursions to guided sea expeditions around otter habitats, it’s a great way to explore the outer edge of Canada and B.C.’s rugged coastlines.
– This article first appeared in Pacific Coastal Airlines’ SOAR Magazine.
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