A historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Monday between Destination Vancouver and Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) to develop a coordinated, sustainable, and socially conscious Indigenous tourism industry.
The organizations said that their joint efforts to achieve a diverse, strong and vibrant visitor economy were integral to the rebuild and growth of Vancouver’s tourism sector and the city’s Indigenous tourism businesses.
The MOU begins the process of building an ongoing relationship between Destination Vancouver and ITBC, as well as the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) nations to promote Indigenous cultures, experiences and businesses. The goal of the MOU, which is grounded in a commitment to reconciliation, is to respect proper protocols, build trust, and respect the ancestral knowledge of these nations within Vancouver tourism.
“Destination Vancouver has a responsibility and role to play in reconciliation with our First Nations partners we will build a future that fully reflects the cultures and diversity of local First Nations and educates visitors about the history of the land we welcome travellers to,” said Royce Chwin, President and CEO of Destination Vancouver. “We believe that it is essential to make Indigenous voices an integral component of the work we must do to rebuild, creating a more resilient and regenerative visitor economy anchored in a triple bottom line approach, that supports people, and the planet, while maintaining profitability for those supporting tourism in our region.”
The organizations said that this new partnership comes at a pivotal time for the tourism industry, as recreational travel continues to rebound and economic recovery ensues after the initial impacts of COVID-19.
“We are pleased to see a formal relationship between Destination Vancouver and ITBC, based on mutual respect and a commitment to the shared goal of building strong Indigenous regional economies in the tourism industry,” said Brenda Baptiste, Board Chair of Indigenous Tourism BC. “By sharing our unique resources and diverse skill sets, we create a tourism industry legacy based on relationships that support thriving Indigenous cultures, social and economic development for Indigenous People, and responsible stewardship of the land and water.”
Destination Vancouver and ITBC were joined earlier by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and several Vancouver City Councillors, who witnessed the pledge to this new partnership and commitment to forge a collaborative path forward for the future of tourism in Vancouver.
“We are so fortunate to promote a land that is not only known as one of the most exciting, attractive and welcoming global city destinations, but also has a deep history that enriches the tourism industry,” said Robyn McVicker, Board Chair of Destination Vancouver. “As we continue to rebuild our tourism offering, and travel to our region continues to recover, now is the time to cultivate important relationships that promote and educate visitors about this land’s long history and founding cultures.”
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