Indigenous Tourism Awards Gala

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) recognizes Indigenous entrepreneurs and organizations  from across the country for outstanding achievements in tourism. The 2023 awards will include both national awards and awards specific to the host province of Manitoba. This year’s award ceremony will take place during the 10th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) on Treaty 1 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

DJ Shub to Headline the Awards Gala!

Considered to be the Godfather of PowWowStep, DJ Shub has undoubtedly pioneered a growing genre of electronic music. Born Dan General, he is a Mohawk, turtle clan of the Six Nations of the Grand River located in Ontario, Canada. DJ Shub won the 2022 JUNO award for Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year, and previously won Breakthrough Group of the Year in 2014 (with A Tribe Called Red).

More about DJ Shub

Award Nominations are Now Closed

Nominees must be majority Indigenous-owned and controlled and provide tourism experiences or tourism-related services. Nominations needed to be submitted by Friday, January 20, 2023.

National Awards

Provincial or Territorial Association of the Year

This award will recognize 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.

Winner - Indigenous Tourism Alberta

Indigenous Tourism Association of New Brunswick

Tourisme Autochtone Québec / Quebec Indigenous Tourism

Exceptional Industry Leader and The Original Original Star Award

This award will recognize 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.

Feast Cafe Bistro – Christa Bruneau-Guenther

Wapusk Adventures – David Daley

Winner - Wikwemikong Tourism – Luke Wassegijig

Leading the Way in Sustainability Award

This award will recognize 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.

Holmalco Tours

Winner - Métis Crossing

Tundra North Tours

Extraordinary Female Entrepreneur Award

This award will recognize 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.

Inez Cook – Salmon n’ Bannock

Winner - Josée Leblanc – Atikuss Canada

Matricia Bauer/Brown – Warrior Women

Business Innovation Award

This award is open to all, and will be given to the company that was best able to pivot and adapt to the new environment COVID-19 brought with it or to a new business that opened since 2020 and has been able to demonstrate success during uncertain times in the tourism industry. This award will be given to a business that has demonstrated resiliency, innovative re-opening or marketing tactics, business innovation or staff retention tactics to make the business successful.

Winner - Dakota Dunes Resort

Pei Pei Chei Ow

Thrive Tours

Manitoba Awards

Leading the Way in Business Development (Community-based)

This award will recognize 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.

Big Sand Lake Lodge

Fisher River Economic Development Corporation

Winner - Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Outstanding Staff Person Award

This award will recognize 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.

Winner - Dennis Daniels – Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre Inc.

Jade Richards – Kikiwak Inn

Wyatt Daley – Wapsuk Adventures

Exceptional Cultural Experience Award

This award will recognize 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.

Borealis Beading

Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre

Winner - Whiteshell Petroforms

New Operator, or Business that Launched a New Experience

Although COVID-19 brought many challenges, ITAC recognizes that new operators and new businesses may still be developing their experiences. This award will recognize a phoenix rising through the ashes during one the most difficult times in recent history. A new business or experience opening between 2020 – 2022.

Boreal Workshop – Tanis Thomas

Dene Routes – Florence Hamilton

Winner - Prairie Berry – Jen Turenne