Your business resembles a beautiful, strong boat. You will launch it, steer it, love it, and share it with the many customers, employees, and friends who create space for it in their own lives and cherish it as you do. It becomes family, a place where profound memories are created and makes the life of a community richer. Like a strong boat, your business requires a tremendous amount of care and maintenance to survive and prosper. 

Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES) has partnered with ITO to create the PATHS Tourism Builder, a guidebook that takes a deep dive into your business and isolates four major directions that help your business run more effectively. 

Preparing for Guests and Saying Hello

The first direction, “Preparing For Guests”, looks at planning, and reviews the tasks we need to complete before we launch a business. What licensing, permits, and paperwork need to be pursued before we launch? Do we incorporate or register as a sole proprietorship, do we have enough insurance, do we need particular permits? Once we’ve launched our business, it’s time to say hello to our guests.

The second direction, “Saying Hello”, focuses on marketing and branding, and encourages entrepreneurs and organizations to define the experience they are offering to the world clearly. This direction examines the “personality” and “soul” of your business, the core “story” you’ll share with guests, and the most effective way your organization can reach out and communicate with customers.

Welcoming Guests and Caring for Our People

The third direction, “Welcoming Guests”, shares lessons and stories from Indigenous tourism operators across Canada. How do guests experience your business through their own eyes, and how can you elevate your product and service experience to create memorable moments? Cultural authenticity is discussed, and the touchpoints where guests discover and experience your organization are isolated and explored. The fourth direction in the PATHS Tourism Builder is “Caring For Our People”, and focuses on creating a safe workplace for your guests and team. Do you understand waivers? Do you have a safety plan in place? What are possible risks you may encounter, and what steps can you take to mitigate the exposure?

Connect with an ITO Business Advisor

An ITO Business Advisor can help you with the PATHS Business Builder, and give you an introduction to the content. We can answer any questions regarding the material or focus on specific sections only, if that’s something you’d prefer. It helps to have an outside perspective on the direction your organization is moving, especially from advisors who have years of experience, and who’ve experienced the ups and downs common to every business. 

The Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA) Program will assist Indigenous tourism businesses throughout the province to improve sustainability and resiliency and encourage success within their operations. This innovative training, coaching, and mentoring model ensures that Indigenous tourism businesses have the support required to survive the COVID-19 storm, thrive post-pandemic, and ultimately increase market readiness. The IBA Program uses a relationship-focused approach whereby businesses receive one-on-one support from industry-leading Indigenous tourism professionals. This innovative program will be the first of its kind in Canada and will set precedence by providing direct, one-on-one support to help businesses succeed.

If you’d like IBA assistance please contact  iba@indigenoustourismontario.ca

Chi Miigwetch

Scott Mercs