Are you putting the Social Cart before the Economic Horse?

“If every objection must be overcome, nothing will get done. Remember, it’s the economic horse that pulls the social cart.” – Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band

horse-cartWhen I read this quote, I couldn’t help thinking that these words demonstrate a rare depth of understanding regarding community-based tourism development as it is applied in an aboriginal context, and that it further addresses (rather succinctly) something that is too often overlooked in the rhetoric of corporate social responsibility.

Specifically, Chief Louie clearly recognizes that (more…)

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The “Little Red Book” is Published!

ICH Module 1

In the niche of cultural tourism – and a characteristic for many traveling into the arctic regions of Canada – it was noted in the market research that these educated, intrepid travelers try to “learn everything about their destination BEFORE arriving”. In other words, the destination becomes a passion for them during the pre-trip stages of their experience. They travel not so much to learn something new for the first time, as they do to validate what they have already learned.

This purchasing behavior presented a problem for the local Inuit guides as it (more…)

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WINTA: A New Global Partner for the Adventure Travel Industry

The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) hosted their first international forum last week on Indigenous Tourism in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).  This event was sponsored by the Institute of Tourism at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts immediately following the ninth annual ATTA Adventure Travel World Summit. The theme of the forum, “Partnering with Indigenous Peoples”, was chosen to recognize that a truly successful business partnership is founded upon shared values and common objectives.

ChrisThe recent partnership between WINTA and the ATTA embodies the spirit of such a mutually beneficial partnership. In his opening comments, Chris Doyle of the ATTA defined adventure tourism as being a combination of three key elements: a physical activity, natural landscapes, and local culture. The latter two are in fact intertwined and inseparable for Indigenous groups around the world, and it is through these traditional cultures that adventure travellers have access to an immeasurably rich, authentic experience of their natural surroundings.

Provided it is done responsibly.

This was one of the key messages of the Forum, attended by 54 individuals representing 23 countries. By working together, in mutually beneficial partnerships, Indigenous communities and businesses have much to (more…)

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Authenticity, Giving Back, and the Awkward Case of Indigenous Tourism

As tourism destinations and products become increasingly interchangeable, local aboriginal cultures have become a key differentiators to remain competitive. This raises many questions on how indigenous groups and the tourism industry can best work together for a greater good. [originally published January 18, 2012 by the ATTA]

Top of World - Inuit Adventures
Top of the World [Photo by Inuit Adventures]
Trend watchers at the recent Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) 2011 in Chiapas, Mexico (has it been 3 months already?!?) looked into their crystal balls to shed some light on the future of the adventure tourism industry. Through a misty haze the ideas of ‘authenticity’, ‘giving back, ‘participation’, and ‘engagement’ resonated with the crowds.

Bruce Poon-Tip challenged us to “change people’s lives” through our travel experiences; Mary-ann Fernandez encouraged mutually beneficial philanthropic alliances; ATTA’s own Shannon Stowell noted the “Tribalization of Business” and the empowerment of consumers through social communities. Many other presenters extolled the benefits and virtues of sharing stories and meaningful interactions to (more…)

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