Over the last decade, significant progress has been made in indigenous tourism, with businesses inviting tourists to learn about their culture and traditions. Indeed, tourism is a way for indigenous tribes to share their wisdom with international visitors as sustainable tourism and reconciliation gain popularity. At the same time, this expansion creates job possibilities for indigenous people of all skill levels.
Indigenous tourism has grown both in popularity and demand. Indigenous tourism serves as a paradigm for community-centred and sustainable tourism as communities transition away from resource extraction.
Read on to discover more about the beauty of sustainable indigenous tourism.
Understanding Indigenous Tourism Today
Indigenous tourism, today, has a sole focus on sharing a community’s local culture while caring for the environment. It is defined as a business owned, operated, or controlled by First Nations, Métis, or Inuit people who have ties to the local Indigenous community and traditional land.
The Indigenous Cultural Tourism Protocol gives operators more leeway in presenting cultural features but, at the same time, fosters mandates that do not explore indigenous peoples and their cultures. After all, these communities are not just tourist attractions. Today, indigenous peoples are also the prime operators who decide whatever aspects of their culture to exhibit.
Outdoor leisure and wildlife tourism are two of the most popular summertime activities for indigenous operators. This may appeal to solo explorers looking for tailor-made excursions.
The Collective Community Impact by Indigenous Tourism
Indigenous-led tourism promotes reconciliation and helps tourists learn about other cultures while also giving guests an awareness of environmental sustainability.
The expansion of indigenous tourism in Canada is reflected in more Indigenous-led wildlife expeditions and community-based cultural activities. Today, both local and international tourists of Canada are drawn to indigenous culture.
Indigenous groups also need a way to communicate their knowledge and customs. According to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics, indigenous experience providers must safeguard and respect indigenous cultures, rights, and ancestral traditions.
Indigenous tourism contributes to a future of sustainable travel by meeting the demand for wide-open spaces, ecotourism, moderate travel, and engagement with local populations. This effectively leads the way for indigenous-led tourism to be catalysts in helping tourists understand and promote reconciliation.
It is true that indigenous tourism promotes indigenous cultural awareness, gives employment to locals, helps preserve traditions, builds peace, develops small businesses, engages the youth, and maintains the vitality of the land. On the other hand, however, bad practices involve commodification, overtourism, wildlife impact and disturbances, and so on.
Moreover, indigenous tourism development is especially vulnerable to mismanagement risks because of the intertwining of Indigenous culture and identity with visitor-desired sites and experiences. This must be recognized by any indigenous-led tourism business.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Indigenous Tourism
Indigenous tourism in Canada is growing and has become an important economic and cultural force for Indigenous communities across the country. For example, early in 2020, 1,900 Indigenous tourism firms employed 40,000 people and contributed $1.9 billion to Canada’s GDP.
Indigenous tourism promotes cultural interaction and revival, increases employment, empowers local communities, particularly women and youth, encourages tourism product diversification, allows people to maintain their relationship with the land, and fosters a sense of pride, according to UNTWO’s Recommendations on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Tourism.
Tourism, in general, boosts the regional economy. When well-managed, it boosts tourist professionals’ confidence and knowledge-sharing. As such, it is critical to foster the best practices when promoting indigenous tourism. With the appropriate guidelines, indigenous tourism can be sustainable and beneficial to all.
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