Travellers will now find it easier to identify and book experiences from Indigenous-owned tourism businesses, with the launch of anew campaign from Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.
The Original Original campaign aims to educate travellers, modernize their perception of Indigenous experiences and rebuild the industry, which was disproportionately devastated by the pandemic.
“The Original Original campaign is a reflection of our communities as they really are: diverse, authentic, empowered and current,” says Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “Our greater mandate at ITAC is to leverage tourism to help support the revitalization and broader understanding of Indigenous culture in a way that contributes positively to Indigenous communities. The Original Original mark supports this mandate by helping travellers better distinguish and support authentic businesses, and lift our voices.”
The Original Original brand mark identifies tourism businesses vetted by ITAC using four key criteria: the business is at least 51 per cent Indigenous-owned, it embraces the values of Indigenous tourism, it offers a market or export-ready experience and is an ITAC member.
The mark features two letter Os within each other, representing the world and cycle of life. At the centre is a fire symbol – a single flame, divided into three parts, representing each of the three groups of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: First Nation, Métis and Inuit.
“We are thrilled to officially roll-out The Original Original film and poster series, a collection of striking imagery that visually encapsulates the spirit of Indigenous travel experiences across Canada,” Henry says. “We invite people to view these and share with their friends and family to help get the word out. Indigenous Peoples continue to provide transformative visitor experiences. An up-to-date list of Indigenous experiences that are currently open or closed can be found at DestinationIndigenous.ca. Now is the time to come together as one and celebrate our connection to this vast country.”
Prior to March 2020, Indigenous tourism was a fast-growing industry, bringing an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue to Canada’s gross domestic product with 1,900 Indigenous-led businesses employing an estimated 40,000 Indigenous tourism employees. Today an estimated 15,000 employees and 1,000 businesses are left.
Canadians interested in helping rebuild the Indigenous tourism industry can do so by visiting Indigenous tourism destinations from coast to coast to coast at www.destinationIndigenous.ca to book an Indigenous experience and by sharing the campaign posters and videos.
Additional elements of The Original Original campaign will be released throughout the summer and fall.
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