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Indigenous Tourism: Policy as Reconciliation in the Canadian Domestic Market

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Author: Liu, Troy
Indigenous tourism has been identified as a vehicle for addressing the many socio-economic disparities faced by Indigenous communities. This is supported by literature that have examined how tourism can have an economic impact. While previous studies on Indigenous tourism have largely focused on building capacity and sustainable development, little has been explored on its role in Canada’s reconciliation narrative. This narrative includes 1) government policies that support Indigenous tourism; 2) social, economic, political impacts that Indigenous tourism has on Indigenous communities; and 3) social impacts that Indigenous tourism has on tourists, both international and domestic. Through exposure to Indigenous tourism experiences, interactions with Indigenous cultures may challenge and change tourists’ preconceived ideas, perceptions, attitudes or expectations of Indigenous peoples. Currently, Indigenous tourism is largely supported by international tourists rather than domestic tourists. This capstone seeks to understand the domestic demand for Indigenous tourism in the Province of British Columbia (BC) because there is a lag in this particular market. Based on findings from descriptive statistics and case studies analyses, three policy options are introduced and evaluated for their efficacy in increasing domestic participation in Indigenous tourism. This is an important opportunity for government policies to encourage and support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians by developing the domestic market.
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