TREATY 1 TERRITORY and the HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER MÉTIS (WINNIPEG) — The finalists for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s (ITAC) annual Indigenous Tourism Awards and Indigenous Tourism Manitoba’s (ITM) Tourism Awards have been announced.
ITAC’s national awards are available to Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Canada while the Indigenous Tourism Manitoba awards are available to Manitoba-based nominees. Both the national and provincial awards – sponsored by WestJet – are being presented during the Gala celebration at the 10th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) on March 9.
This year, more than 60 nominations were received, showcasing first-rate Indigenous tourism experiences, businesses and leaders. The finalists for each category include:
- Business Innovation Award: Thrive Tours, Dakota Dunes Resort, Pei Pei Chei Ow
- Female Entrepreneur Award: Josée Leblanc, Atikuss Canada; Inez Cook, Salmon n’ Bannock; Matricia Bauer, Warrior Women
- Leading the Way in Sustainability Award: Tundra North Tours, Métis Crossing, Holmalco Tours
- The Original Original Award for Exceptional Industry Leadership: Wikwemikong Tourism, Luke Wassegijig; Wapusk Adventures, David Daley; Feast Cafe Bistro, Christa Bruneau-Guenther
- Provincial/Territorial Association of the Year Award: Indigenous Tourism Alberta, Quebec Indigenous Tourism, Indigenous Tourism Association of New Brunswick
- New Operator or Business that Launched a New Experience Award: Boreal Workshop, Tanis Thomas; Prairie Berry, Jen Turenne; Dene Routes, Florence Hamilton
- Cultural Experience Award: Borealis Beading, Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre, Whiteshell Petroforms
- Outstanding Staff Person Award: Dennis Daniels, Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre Inc.; Jade Richards, Kikiwak Inn; Wyatt Daley, Waspsuk Adventures
- Leading the Way in Business Development Award: Opaskwayak Cree Nation; Fisher River Economic Development Corporation; Big Sand Lake Lodge
“I’m incredibly proud to see so many nominations representing such an impressive and diverse group of Indigenous operators from coast to coast to coast,” says Keith Henry, CEO and president of ITAC. “Along with ITM, we will be celebrating the outstanding achievements of some remarkable Indigenous entrepreneurs on March 9th.”
“Manitoba, with its diverse landscapes and Indigenous cultures has many possibilities to develop unique tourism experiences to share with our visitors,” says Holly Courchene, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Manitoba. “This year’s nominees and finalists are outstanding examples of more Indigenous tourism experiences to come.”