Indigenous tourism has been growing rapidly in Canada over the past few years, increasing by 24% from 2014 to 2017. Recognizing that Indigenous foodways are an intrinsic part of Canadian food identities—and tourism experiences that celebrate Indigenous food histories and heritage are one way for visitors to learn about, appreciate, and experience Indigenous foods and cultures— Destination Northern Ontario has partnered with Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) to ensure that food tourism develops into a meaningful contributor to this growth.
This partnership has as its primary objective the support and development of sustainable and authentic Indigenous food tourism experiences in Northern Ontario. An initial output of the project is ITO’s Position Paper on Growing Indigenous Food Tourism in Northern Ontario which establishes the organization’s position on food tourism development in Northern Ontario.
By November 2019, by working collaboratively with Indigenous business, communities, and partners the partnership will have facilitated the development of a strategy for growing Indigenous food tourism in Northern Ontario and a tool for building capacity in Indigenous food tourism businesses. Ultimately, through this work Indigenous food tourism experiences across Northern Ontario will be better positioned to create stronger links between domestic and international visitors and Indigenous peoples and communities.
This ground-breaking partnership project was profiled in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s May 2019 newsletter which reaches thousands of readers.