Canada’s West Marketplace Report
Aboriginal tourism delivers educational, authentic experiences
The demand for incorporating authentic and educational experiences in today’s travel itineraries was evident at the recent Canada’s West Marketplace (CWM) in November 2013. Held in beautiful Whistler, BC – the shared traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation and the Squamish Nation – CWM attracted 150 buyers from many markets including Canada, USA, Australia, China, Korea, Japan and more, as well as 400 sellers from British Columbia and Alberta.
Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC) has attended this show for the past seven years and has seen a steady increase in demand for cultural Aboriginal tourism. Aboriginal tourism providers offer an authentic and unique perspective of British Columbia – past and present. Visitors who engage in Aboriginal tourism experiences get a deeper understanding of Canada’s Indigenous people and their culture, while also becoming enriched and – often – transformed (I speak from my own experiences!).
CWM provided a great platform to promote the various export-ready businesses, as well as new Aboriginal tourism providers to 60 trade partners. We used several sales tools during the meetings including a map of all the Stakeholders that provide export-ready experiences, a flatsheet promoting the new businesses, as well as a selection of video clips showcasing individual Stakeholders and Aboriginal tourism as a whole.
A big thank you goes to the team at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) who supported AtBC to pull off a fantastic Welcome Reception for 300-plus delegates. AtBC hosted this reception in co-operation with Tourism Whistler and showcased a scrumptious bannock station serving more than 1,500 pieces of bannock, a beautiful artist display by master carver Xwalacktun, a traditional welcome and songs by representatives of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, as well as a fun photo booth highlighting three of our Stakeholders.