Kwe Kwe, Aanii, Boozhoo, She:kon, Sge:no, Wachay, Shekoli, Tansi, Greetings to the Indigenous Tourism Ontario community,
We are in challenging times and we have had countless calls, texts and emails in regards to the messaging of a collapse of the Indigenous tourism industry.
To Indigenous tourism operators: WE ARE RESILIENT! Indigenous people are the original tour guides of these lands. We have been hosting for over 500 years and will continue to do so in a meaningful manner. As challenging as it is right now, we will persevere. We will support each other. We will renew and rejuvenate our businesses. We will collectively be stronger and our role and place in the industry will be solidified.
With the Chiefs of Ontario recognizing ITO as Ontario’s first and only province-wide member-driven Indigenous tourism association and with our team having built solid experience as we’ve witnessed the ups and downs of the industry over the last 20 years, we know our sector will survive.
Although we know our Indigenous leadership is focused on keeping our people safe, the time to host visitors again will come soon enough. When that time comes, we will be ready.
We want to reassure Ontario operators that strengthened support, partnerships and resources will continue to be available through ITO. We will continue to be the voice for the Indigenous tourism industry in Ontario. We are continuing to collaborate and partner with supportive allies and partners such as the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI), Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), Feddev, and Fednor. There are numerous others in the industry who are also reaching out to ensure the Ontario Indigenous operators’ needs are being met.
At ITO, we understand that collaboration is crucial, and we are leading the way while being firmly rooted in the local realities of the communities across all regions. This will ensure that Indigenous tourism operators and organizations receive the support that they require. We are here to support and our network is your network.
ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors are here to extend their paddles, work with operators one-on-one to navigate these unfamiliar waters and access necessary resources to survive. Special programs and initiatives will continue to be offered in Ontario to guide Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs in the development of new ideas during this adaptation period. Moreover, we will continue to organize online networking events to facilitate collaboration and strengthen connections and innovation within our communities.
Our team is working diligently and we have identified many opportunities within the Federal and Provincial budgets to help businesses. We encourage you to reach out to our team at email@example.com to seek guidance, support, or simply just to talk.
It is our pleasure and responsibility to serve the operators and we look forward to supporting you now and for many years to come.
The Team at ITO