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Why include an authentic Aboriginal cultural tourism experience in client itineraries?

British Columbia – you know it for its majestic mountains, its wildlife viewing, its urban sophistication, its world-class skiing, its wineries, its ocean playground – but did you know there is more? There is an ancient soul here that has been reawakened – hidden behind a veil of prejudice for decades. It is alive, growing stronger and welcoming visitors to experience nature, learn about diverse cultures and to play while feeling deeper meaning and connection to the earth, to others and to ourselves.

British Columbia’s First Peoples have lived here for thousands of years and they are still here today – not in museums but alive and well and celebrating the renaissance of their culture. They are welcoming travellers from around the world and sharing their culture, their values and their relationship with the land, waters and all living things.

No other place on the planet offers such a density and diversity of Aboriginal experiences – British Columbia is home to more than 200 First Nations and Métis, each with its own unique language, dialect and traditions.

In the following video, meet Jessie Everson, a 13-year-old who has been practicing his culture for years. Although he describes himself as an ordinary kid who swims and plays soccer, Jessie is also not only staying connected with the history and traditions of his people, but also sharing them with others. In the video, Jessie shares some of the culture and values he’s learned along the way, and gives an intimate glimpse into the transformation he goes through when he dons a traditional mask hand-carved from an ancient tree.

Why add an Aboriginal cultural experience to your travel itineraries?

It’s simple. Authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences not only create memories for your clients – for most travellers, they are transformative; they restore the feeling of connection with all things and they become a travel highlight – the focus of stories, of bragging rights, of desires to return.

What does this mean for you?

Your clients have unmatched experiences and book with you again and again. They tell their friends and your client base grows. The following section includes some powerful testimonials of visitors or tour operators who have experienced Aboriginal culture in BC.

“Our visit to Haida Gwaii introduced us to an amazing culture undergoing an important resurgence. We saw firsthand how cultural tourism can not only serve as inspiration to the traveler but that it can serve as fuel to a culture rediscovering itself.”

— David Connell & Becky Sawyer of Arizona
Guests at Haida House at Tllaal

“Sharing the traditions and the spiritual importance of the land with the Aboriginal people, singing in the Big House and learning about their history, while having Native guides take you through their territory as their guests…how can it be any more personal or intimate?”

— Lisa Lazarus of Sherman Oaks of California
Guests at Sea Wolf Adventures

“It has been a pleasure to witness the development of BC’s Aboriginal Tourism Industry over the span of my career as a tour operator. And I have been privileged to engage with various members of the Aboriginal Tourism Industry, those who have exposed my company and our guests to a collection of world-class experiences.

I look forward to more partnerships as the list of enticing Aboriginal Tourism Experiences grows. More and more we see demand growing from our guests, as they seek out authentic cultural experiences in their travels. AtBC has been a wonderful resource for us as a gateway to the collection of operators in British Columbia.”

— Marc Telio
President, Entrée Canada

“Globe-Trotter Tours Canada has set itself apart from the other Canadian receptive tour operators, with the diversity and the originality of packages. Aboriginal tourism experiences play an important role in our offer. To do so, we need partners that will deliver a level of quality and dependability that our international clients expect.

Working with Aboriginal Tourism BC members gives us this guarantee to have products that are “export ready” for receptive operator like us, but more important, moreover, products that will meet the dependability and level of quality that we are looking for…”

— Pascal Hamel
Directeur Produits/Products Manager, Globe-Trotter Tours Canada

Now you know the benefits of including an Aboriginal cultural experience in your client’s itineraries but how much do you really know about Aboriginal culture itself? The following section will give a brief introduction to Aboriginal culture in BC and show you why BC has the most diverse Aboriginal culture in Canada.

Totems in Alert Bay Big House

> U’mista Cultural Centre