ITAC and Trans Canada Trail Sign MOU to Develop Indigenous Tourism and Trail Experiences

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Hiking at Pukaskwa National Park
Hiking at Pukaskwa National Park

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Trans Canada Trail have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote tourism destinations in Canada. The MOU signifies both organizations’ commitment to work together and share resources, knowledge, and expertise to improve, develop, support, and promote tourism destinations inclusive of authentic Indigenous experiences and trail experiences for domestic and international guests.

This is the first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at creating the foundation for a long-term relationship and collaboration between the organizations. Both ITAC and Trans Canada Trail share objectives of growing Indigenous and trails tourism in Canada.

The MOU was signed by Keith Henry, President & CEO of ITAC, and Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO of Trans Canada Trail, at the 2023 International Indigenous Tourism Conference hosted in Winnipeg from March 8-10, in the presence of the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance.

As an early priority, both organizations will work with their members and trail operators to develop exceptional trail experiences and authentic Indigenous experiences through accreditation programs delivered by each organization.

The MOU will link Indigenous experiences and trails that can be accredited by ITAC’s Accreditation Program, The Original Original, and Trans Canada Trail’s Exceptional Trail Experience program. It will also provide an opportunity for trail operators to learn from the guardians of the land on Indigenous knowledge, nature education, and preservation.

This partnership will grow Indigenous tourism and help address the demand for development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences. It will also enhance the capacity and knowledge of trail operators by developing and promoting various sections of the Trans Canada Trail as tourism products.

In addition, the MOU will create educational materials to support Indigenous-owned community enterprises and trail operators for tourism development assistance and capacity building. ITAC’s members are Indigenous-owned and controlled businesses from every province and territory in the country.

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, says, “Indigenous tourism provides unique experiences to Canadians as well as international visitors and drives economic growth for Indigenous communities. This partnership between the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and Trans Canada Trail will not only help create memorable and sustainable outdoor experiences for visitors from all horizons all year long, but also will showcase and develop authentic world-class attractions this place, our home, has to offer.”

ITAC President & CEO, Keith Henry, comments, “As we continue to focus on our vision of creating a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable, and enriching experiences, we are so thrilled to establish this formal partnership with Trans Canada Trail. Through meaningful exchange, we will successfully advance the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada with a goal of making Canada the world leader in Indigenous tourism by 2030.”

“This is a significant moment for Trans Canada Trail as we build this foundation for a long-term relationship with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada,” says Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO, Trans Canada Trail. “This collaboration is based on our mutual sustained commitment to supporting both trails tourism and Indigenous tourism through regenerative destination development programs. Trails continue to play a significant role in everyone’s lives and we celebrate this moment to create more inclusive experiences and opportunities to share and learn from one another.”