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February 7, 2024
Algonquin Anishinaabeg Territory (Ottawa, ON) – The finalists for ITAC’s 2024 Indigenous Tourism Awards were announced today. This year’s awards will be presented by WestJet alongside the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at the 2024 International Indigenous Tourism Conference (#2024IITC) on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabeg Territory (Ottawa, ON).
A highlight of IITC is the annual awards gala; for 2024, this inspiring event acknowledges the accomplishments of national Indigenous tourism operators and serves as a platform to elevate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, and economic development.
ITAC will be recognizing Indigenous-owned tourism associations, businesses, entrepreneurs, and people from across Canada who have demonstrated exceptional work in leadership, partnership, development and marketing, and business ethics.
“As we celebrate the 2024 Indigenous Tourism Awards finalists, we honour their dedication to authenticity, sustainability, and Indigenous tourism. These remarkable operators exemplify the diversity of our industry, inspiring others to embark on their own journeys of discovery and connection,” says Keith Henry, CEO and President of ITAC. “We can’t wait to applaud the outstanding achievements of so many Indigenous entrepreneurs across Canada!”
More than 110 nominations were received this year, underscoring the growth and importance of Indigenous tourism experiences from coast-to-coast. Each year, nominees must be majority Indigenous-owned/controlled and provide tourism experiences or tourism-related services.
The finalists for each National Awards category include:
Extraordinary Female Entrepreneur
Recognizes an empowered and strong Indigenous female entrepreneur within the tourism industry and across Canada, and demonstrates a commitment to uplifting other women in her industry, embodying leadership within her business and/or community.
Michela Carriere, Aski Holistic Adventures (SK)
Tammi Maki, Ravin Rising (ON)
Tracey Kletti, Hooké (QC)
Leading the Way in Sustainability
Recognizes a business that is not only committed to fostering a sustainable future for their business and community, but has made significant and measurable impacts on one or all of the following areas: Social sustainability, cultural sustainability, and environmental sustainability.
Takaya Tours (BC)
Thrive Tours (ON)
Exceptional Industry Leader and The Original Original Star
Recognizes a business or organization leading the way in Canadian Indigenous tourism. By demonstrating excellence in all aspects of its business, such as marketing campaigns, Trip Advisor reviews, revenues generated, low staff turnover and repeat customers. This includes businesses who applied for The Original Original Accreditation Program and received a high score across the board in being an authentic Indigenous business, providing an outstanding and authentic Indigenous experience not to be missed on a travelers next Canadian itinerary.
Under the Stump (NL)
Provincial or Territorial Association of the Year
A Provincial or Territorial Association that has demonstrated excellence in all aspects of ITAC’s 4 Pillars, Leadership, Partnership, Development & Marketing to build a resilient Indigenous tourism industry. Celebrating the spirit of partnership, this provincial or territorial leader will demonstrate their connection to Indigenous and non-Indigenous industry through commitment and collaboration with local, provincial/territorial, national and/or international partners.
Exceptional Cultural Experience
Recognizes the exceptional delivery of cultural knowledge and guest experiences at Indigenous Cultural Centres, Museums, Galleries, Retail Stores, Food Establishments, Entertainments Centres and Spa/Retreats, Outdoor Adventure, Wildlife Viewing, Outdoor Guided Tours.
Dene Routes (MB)
Wiikwemkoong Tourism (ON)
Outstanding Staff Person
Recognizes a youth ambassador or Elder for their extraordinary dedication and exceptional performance while bringing passion for their culture and history and commitment to achieving excellence for the business.
Wyatt Brown, Dakota Dunes Resort (SK)
Leon Boychuk, Métis Crossing (AB)
Collin Alexander, Indigenous Tourism Association of New Brunswick
Leading the Way in Business Development (Community-based)
Recognizes a community-based business thriving in tourism business development at an inspirational rate. The business will demonstrate proper protocol was followed, from community consultation to community buy-in.
Tsawaak RV Resort (BC)
Indigenous Culinary Tourism Award
Recognizes a business or individual in the Indigenous culinary industry. Bridging traditional recipes with regional-based ingredients and creating exciting new experiences for guests, these trail blazers are rocking the culinary world with their flair and fusion. Nominations are open to Chefs, restaurants, wineries, breweries, culinary events, and farms/markets.
Salmon ‘n Bannock (BC)
New Operator or Business that Launched a New Experience
Recognizes a new operator or business that launched a new Indigenous tourism experience in the 2023 operating year (January – December 2023).
Ahous Adventures (BC)
Among the Trees (ON)