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1. Defining and Managing Tourism from an Indigenous Perspective

Developing Indigenous tourism that sustains cultural identity and heritage is exciting and challenging. To develop tourism, Indigenous communities need to meet the challenges of defining their own culture and traditions and authentically presenting them to tourists. Speakers will share how communities arrive at a successful, collaborative tourism vision.

Indigenous communities must take control of their own narratives and communicate those messages in ways that prepare and educate visitors.  Speakers will outline the steps of successful practices and offer real-world examples for developing a plan for tourism management.

2. Ensuring Authenticity and Protecting Cultural Heritage

Key to the success of Indigenous tourism is products and experiences that maintain authenticity in the face of many pressures: modern identity vs history, the opinions and expectations of the tourism “industry,” and the impressions driven by the Internet and social media. Speakers will offer examples of collaboration with tourism boards and tour operators that sustain identity and protect the vision for Indigenous tourism while attracting the support needed to bring visitors to the community.

Cultural heritage is preserved when Indigenous communities protect their intellectual and cultural property—food, medicine, sacred sites and traditional practices.  Stories, songs, art and history.  Experts will share successful practices in protecting an Indigenous community’s most precious assets.

3. Re-establishing Connections in the Americas through Tourism Products and Experiences

Indigenous communities across the Americas are historically connected through vast trade networks. To cite one example, archaeologists have found evidence of connections between the Andean people, the Mexican Maya civilization and the Pueblos of the American Southwest demonstrating significant commercial ties and well-established trade routes. Speakers will share examples of how Indigenous products and experiences have developed around these connections and how further development based on historic connections can be a part of advancing Indigenous tourism of the future.

Indigenous communities successful in tourism develop, deliver and maintain high-quality community-based tourism products.  Forum speakers will offer real-world examples showing the delivery and maintenance of community-based tourism products.

4. Fostering Partnerships and Financing Sustainable Indigenous Community Tourism

Paying for Indigenous community tourism is one of the foremost challenges. Many Indigenous organizations, as well as national and regional governments and industry, are engaged in Indigenous development initiatives, including financing and creative partnering. Our speakers will share their recommendations and lead us in a discussion of successful efforts and good practices for encouraging financial support and engaging across disciplines in successful collaborations.

Another key to success is fostering partnerships for marketing and distribution of Indigenous tourism products. Our experts will guide us in a discussion of successful marketing and distribution cooperatives between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous entities.

5. Co-creating Community-Based Rural Tourism Guidelines

Several organizations have drafted or are developing community-based tourism guidelines that will affect Indigenous communities, and they want input and feedback from Indigenous communities. This session will begin the process of Indigenous communities’ review and discussion of the following proposed guidelines:

  1. The United Nations World Tourism Organization seeks a summary review of its Recommendations on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Tourism. 
  2. The Organization of American States seeks a review of its guidelines currently in process.
  3. The George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies and G Adventures have created guidelines for tour operators—Indigenous People and the Travel Industry: Good Practice Guidelines—and seek input on companion guidelines for Indigenous tourism communities

All guideline documents will be available on the website at

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