2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference

Kelowna, BC

November 12–14, 2019

The 2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference was hosted on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Nation.

The conference theme was “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.” Inspire encourages communities and entrepreneurs to explore tourism as an economic driver. Transform focuses on the impacts of Indigenous tourism on visitors and Indigenous operators alike. Unite speaks to the power of partnerships and coming together to empower the Indigenous tourism industry.

The 2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference Logo

The circle represents unity – a commitment of many partners coming together to present the International Indigenous Tourism Conference “Way̓ x̌ast sx̌l̓x̌ʕal̓t, the people of the Syilx, Nlakápamux and Secwépemc Nations welcome you to the 2019 IITC hosted on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Nation.”

There are three parts of sage, one part for each of the Indigenous Nations in the Thompson Okanagan region. The three parts are also representative of the 3 cycles of sage growth and represent the all-season destination of the Thompson Okanagan region. As well, the three parts represent the commitment in Indigenous tourism to past, present, and future generations.

Sagebrush is significant to the Nations in the Thompson Okanagan region for many reasons including ceremonial, medicinal, spiritual, and nutritional values. The hand-like shape of the sage indicates that it is ready to harvest.

In the center of the logo, you will see that “Kelowna” is written in blue.  The blue colour is representative of water. Water is the most life sustaining gift on Mother Earth and is the interconnection among all living beings. Water sustains us, flows between us, within us, and replenishes us.

The colours of the logo are a nod to the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and are a visual representation of the many colours that appear in the landscape of the region through the seasons.

Agenda & Presentations

The 2019 IITC conference agenda featured amazing local cultural experiences, educational sessions, and inspiring speakers – Including keynotes from Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuk player in the NHL, Sarain Fox, a television host, activist, and performer, and Keith Henry, President & CEO of ITAC.

Download the full Agenda (PDF - 8.47 MB)

Keynote Speakers

ITAC Acceleration Strategy: Year 1

Keith Henry

President & CEO

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Sébastien Desnoyers

Director of Marketing

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Teresa Ryder

Director of Business Development

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

View Presentation

Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo

Founder of The Team Tootoo Foundation, First Inuk player in the NHL

Musqueam Indian Band - YVR Airport Sustainability & Friendship Agreement

Mary Point

Indigenous Relations Manager

Vancouver International Airport

Anne Murray

Vice President, Airline Business Development & Public Affairs

Vancouver International Airport

View Presentation

Future History

Sarain Fox

Host of Future History on APTN, Anishinaabekwe Activist, Influencer, Performer and Dancer.

Day 2 - Wednesday, November 13th

Women in Entrepreneurship

  • Elaine Cairns, Carrie Manitopyes, Ningwakwe / Priscilla George, Karri-Lynn Paul, Sharon Bond - View Presentation

Indigenous Tourism on the Rise: From Grassroots Start-Up to Export Ready

Indigenous Culinary Tourism Development

Developing Indigenous Culinary Tourism

  • Bill Alexander, Christa Bruneau-Guenther, Joseph Shawana, Sonya Davidson, K. Alex Beaven - View Presentation

Day 3 - Thursday, November 14th

Tourism’s New Normal - Redefining What Success Looks Like - The Thompson Okanagan Experience

International Media: Sharing your Stories

  • Fiona Tapp, Karen Gardiner, Hans Tammemagi, Jennifer MacLean, Jessica Harcombe Fleming - View Presentation

Public Relations & Media: The power of story sharing and working with the media

The Canadian Signature Experience Program: Should your business apply?

Photography 101 & Creating Content

Cooperative Management at Gwaii Haanas: A look behind the scenes

Indigenous Tourism Awards

Each year, a highlight of IITC is the annual awards gala, where exceptional Indigenous leaders and Indigenous tourism experiences are recognized and celebrated. This year, both the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) announced award winners and nominees from across the country.

National Award Winners

Inspiring Indigenous Culinary Award

Best Marketing Campaign

Indigenous Adventure Award

Most Inspiring Cultural Ambassador

Most Improved Business

BC Award Winners

Customer Service Award

Outstanding Indigenous Accommodations

Exceptional Outdoor Cultural Experiences

Remarkable Indoor Cultural Experiences