COAST SALISH TERRITORY, B.C. — The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is announcing the launch of The Original Original campaign. This campaign intends to educate travellers and improve their perception of Indigenous experiences to re-build the tourism industry.
Prior to March 2020, there were approximately 40,000 Indigenous tourism employees and 1,900 Indigenous-owned businesses. Today, there are approximately 15,000 employees and 1,000 businesses remaining.
The most important aspect of the The Original Original campaign is helping travellers better identify and book experiences from Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Canada.
“The Original Original campaign is a reflection of our communities as they really are: diverse, authentic, empowered and current,” says Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “Our greater mandate at ITAC is to leverage tourism to help support the revitalization and broader understanding of Indigenous culture in a way that contributes positively to Indigenous communities. The Original Original mark supports this mandate by helping travellers better distinguish and support authentic businesses and lift our voices.”
The campaign identifies Indigenous-owned tourism businesses using four criteria: the business is at least 51 per cent Indigenous-owned, embraces the values of Indigenous tourism, offers a market or export-ready experience and is an ITAC member.
Moreover, The Original Original artwork features two letter Os within each other, representing the world and the cycle of life. At the centre is a fire symbol divided into three parts, representing the three groups of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: First Nation, Métis and Inuit.
“We’re thrilled to officially roll-out the Original Original film and poster series, a collection of striking imagery that visually encapsulates the spirit of Indigenous travel experiences across Canada,” says Henry. “We invite people to view these and share with their friends and family to help get the word out. Indigenous Peoples continue to provide transformative visitor experiences. An up-to-date list of Indigenous experiences that are currently open or closed can be found at DestinationIndigenous.ca. Now is the time to come together as one and celebrate our connection to this vast country.”