Cultural Authenticity Program
Welcome to ITO’s Cultural Authenticity Program (CAP). A program designed to acknowledge tourism champions that are striving to preserve and share our province’s diverse indigenous cultures with visitors from around the world.
The Cultural Authenticity Program (CAP), introduced in ITO’s 2020 Tourism Strategy, supports, recognizes and rewards businesses that offer ‘culturally authentic’ tourism products. CAP’s main objective is to recognize Indigenous cultural entrepreneurs, while increasing awareness among visitors to understand more about the local businesses and what they have to offer in the region. This non-regulating approach recognizes and celebrates Indigenous tourism businesses in all tourism sub-sectors as well as creates awareness of environmental and cultural diversity while supporting the growth of authentic cultural tourism.
Using a Non-Regulatory Approach:
The CAP program recognizes all key players to provide the visitor with a culturally authentic experience. We’ve categorized them into the 4 P’s of Cultural Authenticity:
Preserver: Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses who offer culturally authentic activities based on their traditions, skills & knowledge. These people represent the core of the program. This can be an individual in the community or a tourism related business. For example, a guided excursion on the land with a local indigenous person where they share their culture.
Packager – Businesses that provide a tourism experience, service or product that includes an authentic indigenous component. This can be a restaurant, a tour company, an attraction/destination, and/or tourism-related service that integrate some aspect of indigenous awareness and sharing of culture. Here are a few examples of what a Packager can be: a restaurant that serves traditional Cree inspired cuisine, a community cultural heritage museum, and a hotel offering tours to an indigenous museum, etc.
Partner – Organizations, corporations, and government bodies that support and/or sponsor authentic Indigenous tourism products and services. For example, Six Nations Tourism.
Promoter – Tour operators, RTO’s, travel agencies, tourism associations, DMO’s, etc. that promote Indigenous tourism products and services. For example, the Great Spirit Circle Trail.
The CAP program will form a significant part of the marketing and brand strategy for your business/tourism experience as well as indigenous experiences being promoted by ITO. When you join the program you will receive your own icon/badge that represents your designation as a Preserver, Packager, Partner, and/or Promoter. Participants in the program have an opportunity to overlap between the 4 P’s and may even represent all four. These icons/badges will be used on ITO’s web and print based promotional materials, and can also be used for your business and experiences within your own marketing initiatives.
Joining is simple. The first step is to become a member of ITO. Once you are a member, you will have an online application to complete that will share brief details about your tourism venture and how it supports Cultural Authenticity in your community, region and province. If you require assistance with your application, an ITO Representative is happy to help walk you through the process.
Not sure about which CAP designation you are? ITO has created a simple online assessment that will determine which designation you fall under. Please note that it is possible to be more than one designation.