The ITBC Indigenous Alignment Strategy 2021-2024: Pulling Together for Recovery identified the Invest in Iconics project as a priority initiative. The Alignment Strategy notes that ITBC will work with DBC as a true partner to execute the Iconics Place Branding and Place Making efforts.
We are working together to identify a small number of globally compelling routes and places or Iconics. Place Branding provides a powerful new way to package and market British Columbia as a compelling destination. Place Making seeks to develop remarkable in-destination experiences for international visitors.
ITBC and DBC are committed to planning and implementing this strategy and ensuring all our activities include respect for Indigenous perspectives and support from Indigenous stakeholders. An MOU outlines ITBC’s leadership role in the Iconics execution; pre-planning engagement, regional engagement, and implementation; and building out BC’s iconic journeys. In addition, we will work together to ensure Indigenous voices set a strong foundation and weave Indigenous culture and tourism experiences throughout.
|Seasonal Dispersion||Geographic Dispersion|
|Encourage more travelers to visit our mature destinations in the off-peak; these mature destinations were already at capacity during summer.
*Caveat: post-pandemic some mature destinations will need help driving visitation during peak periods.
|Encourage more travelers to explore high-potential destinations around BC – beyond the mature destinations – during peak season.|
With industry partners, Stakeholders, and residents across the province, we are working on branding and then marketing unique routes and places that will stand out among global travel destinations. Indigenous Territories are home to the iconic routes, land features, and waterways that bring travellers to BC. Indigenous people, culture, language, stories, and tourism experiences are a fundamental part of the success of this strategy–we anticipate Indigenous world views and values to be a part of each of the potential Iconics.
In partnership with DBC, we invite Indigenous Peoples in BC to participate and center all-season travel for international visitors in a way that ensures tourism partners and development are respectful of Indigenous People’s culture, protocols, and territories.
ITBC wants to ensure Indigenous People are heard by telling our stories in our own way, and are not invisible in our own territories, as such Indigenous culture and Indigenous tourism experiences are a fundamental part of the success of this strategy and are an essential part of each of the proposed Iconics.
The Iconics are not meant to take the place of the work of City Destination Marketing Organizations, Regional Destination Marketing Organizations, or individual stakeholder marketing campaigns. Rather they are meant to create globally compelling brands, that are focused on place branding in the immediate term, and place making in the longer term.
ITBC has received a legal opinion on our role within this project. ITBC is engaging with specific stakeholders for this project, we will not be partaking in any activities that may affect rights and title. Therefore, we do not believe the government mechanism of duty to consult will be a factor in our involvement with the Invest in Iconics project.
ITBC is mandated by the First Nations Leadership Council as the voice of Indigenous Tourism interests in British Columbia. That said, we do not have the mandate from the First Nations Leadership Council to engage with all First Nations in the province. ITBC will focus our engagement on stakeholders that are associated with our organization and operating in the tourism industry. There are multiple tiers of stakeholders, from market ready, to communities that are just beginning to look at tourism as an economic driver. It should be noted that some of our stakeholders are associated with a BC First Nations community.
The BC government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in the fall of 2019. This means all government ministries must align their ministry service plans with this legal instrument. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport is no exception. We will use UNDRIP as the lens through which we walk through this work with our partners
ITBC sees this having multiple benefits. Some of which include an enhanced tourism network, new partnerships, and opportunities. Indigenous people can tell their own stories in their own way. Both ITBC and stakeholders can build awareness about the rich diversity of Indigenous Cultures in BC. Importantly, ITBC and Stakeholders can ensure that Indigenous Peoples are visible in their own territories.