Since the inception of Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) more than 20 years ago, the Indigenous tourism industry has emerged as an active contributor to the national economy, with tremendous growth potential and the ability to create socio-economic balance for Indigenous communities. Growth in the Indigenous tourism industry continues to accelerate and currently outpaces overall tourism in Canada.
ITBC dedicates its effort to the removal of barriers for Indigenous people in the tourism industry. ITBC and Indigenous tourism leaders work together to define this emerging industry, set standards for respectful and appropriate Indigenous cultural tourism, and establish a strong industry-wide foundation built on solid research and strategic planning.
ITBC experienced key transitional points during its growth, notably the development of the BC Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy in 2005. ITBC supports the Indigenous innovators and entrepreneurs leading the way in cultural revitalization, experience development, and the creation of improved social and economic outcomes for the living and future generations of Indigenous people in BC.
The landscape of the tourism industry in BC is ever-evolving: changing factors and experiences motivate visitors, and the competition for global visitation has increased in conjunction with evolving digital marketing strategies. Nationally, we are seeing a more significant public commitment to Reconciliation and increased recognition of how Indigenous innovation and industry can create socio-economic balance for Indigenous people and lead as a contributor to the overall BC economy.
ITBC leadership performed a critical evaluation of our organization and operation strategies to prepare for long-term growth and sustainability.
We believe that traditional Indigenous values and governance models are essential to uphold and guide Indigenous tourism in British Columbia.
Indigenous Stakeholders and communities are at the centre of all ITBC strategies and activities. As the Indigenous tourism sector continues to flourish in BC, the ITBC Board of Directors has established a new operating model to reflect traditional Indigenous cultures, governing systems, values, and principles.
Indigenous Tourism BC is “Strengthening our Roots” with a revised operating system that is a Collaborative Leadership Model.
The Collaborative Leadership operating system adopts philosophies that have guided and been shared by diverse Indigenous peoples for many generations.
The new ITBC operating system reflects a philosophy common to Indigenous people worldwide: the people are one with the land and carry responsibility for its stewardship. Reciprocity is an essential Indigenous teaching, passed through oral history.
The ITBC operating system takes inspiration from the lessons of the Mother Tree and the Seven Grandfather Teachings.
We take the Seven Grandfather Teachings of Truth, Honesty, Wisdom, Love, Humility, Courage, and Respect as Indigenous organizational values. Indigenous principles and values are at the root of the new ITBC operating system.