ATAC hosted the 2016 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference (IATC), in Membertou, Nova Scotia, on the Traditional Territory of the Mi’kmaw people, from December 12-14, 2016.
The conference was held at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre with over 300 delegates in attendance. Aboriginal tourism operators from across Canada and around the world came together for three days of panel discussion, workshops, and keynote presentations. They also enjoyed local cultural experiences and a large exhibitor area that showcased the Aboriginal Tourism Marketplace.
The theme of the conference was, “Building Effective Partnerships for Indigenous Tourism,” and it focused on strategies for building relationships and partnerships with non-government and government organizations, tourism marketing organizations, other tourism operators, and industry leaders.
“The energy and passion displayed… during [this] intense three-day conference was only heightened with the announcement by the Government of Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs [of a $3.15 million investment]. Their clear understanding of how a sustainable, growing Indigenous tourism sector drives economic development and supports not only Aboriginal communities but all Canadians is so welcome by our leadership team,” said Keith Henry, President and CEO of ATAC. “We are inspired and empowered to continue to grow and we have the coast to coast team representation we need to really prosper.”
Government of Canada Investment Announcement
On the first day of the conference, December 13, 2016, the Government of Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada announced an investment of $3.15 million for the implementation of ATAC’s five-year national strategy, the Path Forward 2016-2021. With the ongoing support of the Government of Canada ATAC will be empowered to enhance and support new Aboriginal tourism experiences for future international and domestic visitors.
Aboriginal Tourism Awards Gala
The conference concluded on December 14th, 2016 with the Aboriginal Tourism Awards Gala where Aboriginal tourism leaders from across Canada were honoured for their ongoing dedication to increasing the profile of Aboriginal tourism experiences throughout Canada.
Annual General Meeting
ATAC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held December 15, 2016 in Membertou, Nova Scotia following the 2016 IATC and celebrated the success and achievements from the past year. During the AGM 13 Board of Directors, one from each province and territory, and 3 Executive Committee members were instated.
ATAC board members represent a wide range of tourism partners from across Canada and will take on the responsibility of providing oversight and recommendations on implementation of the ATAC five-year strategy, as well as reporting on successes on a monthly basis.
2017 IATC Announcement
The 2017 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference will be held at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta. Check back for future announcements on the 2017 conference, or sign-up for our email updates and have them conveniently delivered to you.
IATC Event Partners
Thank you to IATC event partners, Destination Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Parks Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Tourism Nova Scotia, J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, Destination Membertou, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island and to our event supporters who include the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), and the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
Without the support of these partners the 2016 IATC would not have been possible. As a result of the critically important support of these partners and sponsors, the 2016 IATC has played an important role in advancing the development of Aboriginal tourism in the Atlantic provinces and across Canada.
IATC Program, Videos and Presentations
The IATC agenda was created to provide attendees with multiple opportunities to find beneficial and collaborative partnerships, with the ultimate goal of building capacity across Canada, broadening global networks, and sharing best practices. Participants were offered workshops on Aboriginal tourism experience development, shared Aboriginal tourism industry research and marketing strategies, and presentations on key strategies to support growing local capacity for Aboriginal communities.
- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ Message
- The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism’s Message
- Destination Membertou – Welcoming the World
- The Rocky Mountain House Métis: Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
- We Have a Story to Tell: The Power of Aboriginal Tourism
- Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations: The Power of Aboriginal Tourism
- All These Stories are There to Teach us a Lesson: The Power of Aboriginal Tourism
- Ben Sherman, Chairman – World Indigenous Tourism Alliance
- Bill Knowlton, VP Marketing & Sales – Jonview Canada
- Camille Ferguson, Executive Director – American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
- Carley Duckmanton, Coordinator of Indigenous Tourism – Experiences and Story-Telling initiative at Parks Canada Places
- Casey Hanisko, VP Marketing and Communications – Adventure Travel Trade Association
- Craig van der Merwe, Creative Director – The Update Company
- Dan Moore, CEO – Pandion Consulting & Facilitation
- Darlene Grant Fiander, President – Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
- Dené Sinclair, Director of Marketing – Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada
- Eric Christmas, CEO – Virtual Nation
- Jim De Hart, COO & Director – Legacy Tourism Group
- Joe Volk, Executive Director – Canadian Inbound Tourism Association (Asia-Pacific)
- John Caton, Founder & Managing Director – Legacy Tourism Group
- Judy Karwacki, Small Planet Consulting – Jubilee Travel
- Keith Henry, CEO – Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada
- Maureen Riley, Executive Director, Industry Partnerships – Destination Canada
- Michael Nadler, VP External Relations Visitor Experience – Parks Canada
- Rob McCloskey, Director General – Tourism Atlantic
- Rod Taylor, CEO & Director – Legacy Tourism Group
- Tracy Menge, Director of Economic Development – Eskasoni First Nation