Indigenous tourism operators in Manitoba are looking for ways to better promote their businesses.
The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada held an engagement session Tuesday morning as part of a plan to create a provincial tourism organization led by the Indigenous community.
Fred Muskego manages Molson Lake hunting and fishing lodge near Norway House.
He’s hoping to increase the number of visitors and expand the business to offer winter activities such as dog sledding, ice fishing and photography of the northern lights.
“I think the marketing is the biggest thing,” said Muskego. “That’ll help our industry.”
Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada president Keith Henry said the sector is growing but needs help to keep the momentum going.
“Where there’s existing Indigenous tourism industry organizations, the industry grows at a significant unprecedented rate,” said Henry. “Where we don’t have that coordination within a province or territory the industry just doesn’t see nearly the same growth.”
O Roseau campground owner Georges Beaudry thinks more marketing outside the country would help grow his business in St. Malo.
“Indigenous tourism is getting more popular around the world, especially in Canada,” said Beaudry. “I can’t go get people from China and Germany but I can market quite easily to the people of Manitoba.”
Tuesday’s forum in Winnipeg was part of a series of engagement sessions with the tourism industry.
The next steps will involve creating an Indigenous Tourism Advisory Committee and developing a strategy and business plan for a Manitoba Aboriginal Tourism Association.