2018 IITC Agenda

Day 1
Day 2
Tuesday, October 30

The first day of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference featured a range of presentations, keynote speakers, workshops and panel discussions. The evening included a choice of one of two local cultural tours.


Pipe Ceremony

Delegates are welcome to attend a traditional Pipe Ceremony.




Official Grand Opening of the 2018 IITC

Grand Entry, Welcome to Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis.

  • Saskatoon Tribal Council Eagle Staff
  • Emceed by Eugene Arcand
  • Walking Buffalo Singers
  • Many Nations Dancers
  • Métis Anthem by Crystal Pederson
  • O Canada by Teagan Littlechief
  • VIPs & Dignitaries


Welcome Remarks

speaker Zoey Roy - Emcee


ITAC The Path Forward: Year 3

What has the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada been up to this year? Join us for an update on ITAC’s activities over the past year including programs and key performance indicators.

speaker Keith Henry - President and CEO - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada


Nutrition Break & Tradeshow Open


ITAC Research Projects to Support Industry

ITAC has completed a number of research projects this year to tell us more about the Indigenous Tourism Industry in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada conducted a research study about the supply side - how many Indigenous tourism businesses are out there in Canada? Destination Canada and ITAC also investigated the demand side of the equation to evaluate what visitors are seeking out when travelling in Canada. Finally, ITAC worked with Destination Think! to better understand what visitors are saying about Indigenous tourism online. (Facilitated by Keith Henry)

speaker Adam Fiser - Principal Research Associate - The Conference Board of Canada speaker Maureen Riley - Executive Director, Industry Partnerships - Destination Canada speaker Dylan Labelle - Director - Tourism Sentiment Index, Destination Think!


Lunch & Tradeshow Open


Keynote: Fireside Chat

Minister Joly was recently appointed as the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie in August 2018 with a mandate to develop a new Federal Tourism Strategy to identify and address structural barriers to tourism growth and investment. ITAC and the Minister’s office are working to continue strengthening their relationship and look forward to the great work they will do together for the development and growth of the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada.

speaker Honorable Minister Mélanie Joly - Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie of Canada - Government of Canada


Shaping Indigenous Tourism in Canada

ITAC delivers several programs to help support business and industry growth across Canada. Learn more about how you can take advantage of these initiatives.

speaker Teresa Ryder - Director of Business Development - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada


Breakout Session: Indigenous Tourism Development in Canada

Choose from one of the following three sessions.

1. Starting an Indigenous Tourism Business

What does it take to start an Indigenous tourism business? Panelists will discuss their experience in planning, financing and implementing Indigenous tourism businesses in Canada.  This session is targeted to communities and entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting an Indigenous tourism business or have a business that is in development.

speaker Candace Dennis - Director Aboriginal Markets - BMO speaker Conrad Browne - CEO - k̓awat̕si Economic Development General Partner Corporation (KEDC) speaker Darrell Balkwill - CEO - Whitecap Development Corporation

2. Bringing it to the Next Level: Growing An Indigenous Tourism Business

Talaysay Tours will share their experiences and highlight their operations, human resource development strategies and practices that have allowed them to learn, grow and sustain as an Indigenous Tour company, operating over the past 16 years. The presentation will be insightful, candid and detailed with pertinent information and mechanisms that have allowed Talaysay Tours to stay in business. This session is targeted to communities and entrepreneurs that are market-ready or looking to achieve market-readiness.

speaker Candace Campo - Owner - Talaysay Tours

3. Getting Trade Ready

What do you need to know to work with the travel trade? Linda will let you know! This session will review the travel trade network and export ready guidelines. This session is targeted to businesses who are market ready and are looking to work with the travel trade and export ready businesses looking for a refresher.

speaker Linda Sarazin - Training Consultant - Turtle Island Tourism Company


Nutrition Break & Tradeshow Open


Panel Discussion: Developing Culinary Tourism

Indigenous cuisine is a part of a travel experience - tasting the flavours of the local place and connecting with the people who prepare it. ITAC is leading a project to develop a National Indigenous Culinary Tourism strategy. This session will highlight project milestones so far, and share food stories from chefs across the country.

speaker Charlie Sark - Indigenous Tourism Strategist - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada speaker Bill Alexander - Executive Chef - Grey Eagle Resort and Casino speaker Murray McDonald - Executive Chef speaker Christa Bruneau-Guenther - Owner - Feast Cafe


Closing Remarks


Cultural Tour

Cultural Tours were selected at the time of registration - please check your online ticket to determine which cultural tour you selected.

1. The Many Nations Gathering & Dinner Theatre at Dakota Dunes

Gather together and experience an evening of cultural performance, live theatre and delicious local food. This fun, come and go event takes place at the Dakota Dunes Casino located near Saskatoon at Whitecap Dakota First Nation. It’s the perfect opportunity to network and learn more about your IITC Host Nations and the Many Nations Indigenous Tourism Corridor project. You will also receive a free play credit at the Dakota Dunes Casino. Transportation to and from the venue will be provided.

2. Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Countless generations have come to the valley where the Wanuskewin Heritage Park sits to hunt bison, gather food and herbs, share their stories and celebrate life. Experience an evening of dancing, drumming, storytelling, and a guided tour. Try the local cuisine prepared at Wanuskewin as part of the experience! Transportation to and from the venue will be provided.

Wednesday, October 31

Presentations, keynote speakers, workshops and panel discussions continued on day 2 followed by the Indigenous Cultural Tourism Awards Gala in the evening.




Day 2 Welcome


International Partnerships

ITAC works with International partners to share best practices and support Indigenous tourism growth around the world. The panel of speakers will share their experiences working with ITAC. (Facilitated by Keith Henry)

speaker Mario Fulmer - Visitors Programs Manager - Alaska Native Voices - AIANTA speaker Mira Poling Anselmi - Membership Director - Adventure Travel Trade Association speaker Ben Sherman - Chairman - World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA)


ITAC Partnerships

At the national level, ITAC works with many partners who share goals in developing and marketing Indigenous tourism experiences to visitors. But really, what do these national partnerships mean for operators? Hear from ITAC partners about the programs they are working on with ITAC and Indigenous tourism operators who are taking advantage of them.

speaker Catherine Callary - Senior Director, Destination Development - Tourism Ottawa speaker Maureen Riley - Executive Director, Industry Partnerships - Destination Canada speaker Trina Mather-Simard - Executive Director - Indigenous Experiences speaker Elisabeth Lacoursiere - Director, Outreach & Marketing - Parks Canada speaker Lilian Tankard - Director of Partnerships & Visitor Experiences - Travel Manitoba


Nutrition Break & Tradeshow


ITAC Marketing Plan

ITAC works with partners to help market the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada to the world. Marketing initiatives in print and online, partnership opportunities with Destination Canada, and access to travel trade and media, ITAC marketing programs can help your Indigenous-owned or controlled tourism business reach new customers and expand your audience. Join this presentation to learn more about how you can take advantage of ITAC’s annual marketing initiatives!

speaker Dené Sinclair - Director of Marketing - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada


Updated National Guidelines for Indigenous Tourism Development

All Indigenous-owned and managed business in the tourism sector must meet the industry-wide standard to be considered “market ready”. By claiming that you are “market ready” you are stating that the quality and consistency of your experience is of high standard and will be delivered at the same level each and every time. Learn more about this tool and how you can use it to further develop your Indigenous tourism business.

speaker Dené Sinclair - Director of Marketing - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada speaker Teresa Ryder - Director of Business Development - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada


Lunch & Tradeshow



In September 2018, Destination Canada and ITAC renewed a partnership to grow Indigenous tourism in Canada. Join Destination Canada’s President and CEO, David F. Goldstein, as he talks about the importance of this commitment. You will also be among the first to preview one episode of a major, not-yet-released travel docu-series available in the US on Amazon Prime. The episode aims to share transformational Indigenous experiences with an international audience.

speaker David Goldstein - President & CEO - Destination Canada


Breakout Session: Marketing Your Tourism Business

Choose from one of the following three sessions.

1. 10 Tips for Winning Websites (for doors-open / visitor-ready businesses)

Build a website… feeling a little overwhelmed?  Craig will give you 10 tips to build a website that works for you and your business that will convince a traveller to choose you over your competitor.  This session is for businesses who are in development or are interested in improving their web success.

speaker Craig van der Merwe - Creative Director - The Update Company

2. Working with Influencers (for market-ready businesses)

Do you want to work with bloggers and media and don’t know where to start? Join this session to learn from the best!

speaker Dalene Heck - Travel Blogger - Hecktic Travels

3. Working with the Chinese Market (for export-ready businesses)

2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism and earlier this year China became the largest overseas inbound market to Canada. What do you need to do to be ready for this exciting new opportunity? ITAC’s marketing team works with Sparkle Tours in Beijing to market to the Chinese reseller market, and will teach you about what China readiness really means, including how/when/why you need Wechat and Alipay. This session is for export-ready tourism businesses who have already learned the basics about the Chinese market and are looking for ways to grow their Chinese customer base.

speaker Sébastien Desnoyers - Sales & Marketing Manager - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada speaker Lu Lu - Account Manager - Sparkle Tours speaker Aymeric Naudin - General Manager - Sparkle Link


Breakout Session: Growing Your Business

1. Finding Your Story (for doors-open / visitor-ready businesses)

Sure you have a great idea, but the opportunities seem endless. How do you identify your true tourism story to drive a new business idea? Suzanne & Dene are storytellers, marketers and industry leaders who will help you sort out what kinds of tourism ideas can set you apart in the marketplace. This session is perfect for communities and entrepreneurs who are just starting to think about tourism.

speaker Suzanne Reeves - Principal - SURE Media speaker Dené Sinclair - Director of Marketing - Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

2. Online Booking Systems (for market-ready businesses)

In North America, more than 40% of travel is booked online. Do you want to access a larger customer base? ITAC is sharing an exciting new partnership with Meridian Reservation Systems which will allow all tourism businesses access to online customers, no matter how large or small the business. This session is geared towards tourism businesses who are already market-ready and looking for ways to access more customers online and increase their saleability.

speaker Scott Roberts - Senior Marketing Consultant - Riata Tourism speaker Sherry Baumgardner - Senior Marketing Consultant - Riata Tourism speaker Robin Garrett - President - Meridian Reservation Systems

3. International Market Profiles (for export-ready businesses)

Understanding your customer is the start to any good marketing plan. Destination Canada’s research provides insights to travellers from 11 different countries – what sets them apart and what they are looking for. This session is perfect for Indigenous tourism businesses who are looking to learn more about international clients and write marketing plans.

speaker Maureen Riley - Executive Director, Industry Partnerships - Destination Canada


Keynote: Telling Our Stories and Learning Together

Jesse Wente has appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning as film and pop culture critic for 20 years. He previously served as Director of Film Programmes, at TIFF Bell Lightbox, where he oversaw theatrical, Cinematheque and Film Circuit programming. A self-described ‘Ojibwe dude’ with a national and international lens, he encourages audiences to consider diversity and inclusion into the future view of their organization, industry and country.

speaker Jesse Wente - Broadcaster, Advocate & Pop Culture Philosopher


Closing Remarks


Indigenous Tourism Awards & Cultural Performance

Join us for an evening of celebration!
• Awards presented to local and national recipients
• Cultural performances
• Plated dinner

Friday, March 15


Monday, April 1