The head of a national Indigenous tourism association says northern Saskatchewan entrepreneurs should not hesitate to get into the industry.
Keith Henry is the president of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.
He says there may be the perception out there that visitors won’t travel to remote northern communities but this is not necessarily so.
“Visitors will come a long distance,” he says. “I’m from Saskatchewan, originally Prince Albert, I know many of the northern communities – I’ve visited, I’ve lived in them. I understand what the perception may be but the reality is visitors will spend the extra money if they think they are getting something very special and unique.”
As proof in point, Henry says the international Indigenous tourism market is very hot right now and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“So, you’re talking about roughly 21 million visitors from a number of countries that come to Canada each year specifically for tourism type of visits and one in three of those are interested in adding or having an Indigenous holiday while they are here. So, we’re not even coming close to a fraction of what the potential is on the international side.”
If Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs are providing a quality product, visitors will travel far and wide regardless of how remote the location, he says.
All the entrepreneurs will need to worry about is ensuring the proper services, such as accommodation and food, are in place.
The two-day International Indigenous Tourism Conference is taking place in the Bridge city this week and wraps up Wednesday.
Roughly 500 delegates from Saskatchewan and around the world are expected to take in the event.
Monday was Saskatchewan Indigenous Tourism Day.
(PHOTO: Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada President Keith Henry. Photo courtesy of Keith Henry Facebook page.)