VIU students Sara Fulla

VIU students Sara Fulla

‘Namgis member helps organize international symposium

Sara Fullan says they have speakers coming from all over the world to share their sustainable tourism successes

The sustainable Indigenous tourism

industry is growing across

Canada thanks to organized efforts

by Indigenous communities and

leaders who are actively creating

opportunities in the sector. Based

on a tourism model that honours

and celebrates Indigenous traditions

and culture, it’s an industry

that is being built around a deeper

understanding of our connection

to, and ongoing relationship with,

Mother Earth.

A symposium, coordinated

through Vancouver Island University’s

(VIU) Scholarship,

Research, and Creative Activity

Department, is taking place at the

Nanaimo campus April 12-13 to

share innovative best practices

in community-based Indigenous


VIU Master of Arts in Sustainable

Leisure Management student

Britta Peterson and Tourism

Management student Sara Fulla

are helping organize the event.

Fulla, a member of the ‘Namgis

First Nation in Alert Bay, BC, says

they have speakers coming from

all over the world to share their

sustainable tourism successes and

talk about how best to support and

grow the industry moving forward.

“There is a wide range of examples

of sustainable Indigenous

tourism that will be explored, and

this symposium will be looking

into successful Indigenous tourism

products from across the world,”

said Fulla. “Innovations in research

methodologies, increasing

awareness about Indigenous tourism,

and initiatives to support the

development and revitalization of

Indigenous languages are just a

few examples of topics that will

be covered.”

The event was made possible

thanks to funding from the Social

Science and Humanities Research

Council of Canada (SSHRC) and

is being led by Ryerson University

with the participation of many

partners including the World Indigenous

Tourism Alliance, Cape

Breton University and the University

of Tasmania.

“I’m really enjoying helping to

plan the symposium and through

this process I’m learning so much.

I’ve been able to put into practice

what I’ve learned in the past three

years in the Bachelor of Tourism

program so I’m really just thankful

to have the opportunity to be a part

of it,” said Fulla.

The research symposium will

be interactive and participants

can attend the event in person or

watch via a live online broadcast. A

virtual think tank will be set up to

allow online participants to share

ideas, innovations, and news as

the event progresses. Discussions

before and after the event will also

be made possible through various

social media platforms.

Confirmed speakers include Ben

Sherman, who is a member of the

Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Nation and

chairperson of the World Indigenous

Tourism Alliance; Kelly Galaski

who is a program manager

for the world’s largest adventure

travel brand G Adventures; and

Dr. Nicole Vaugeois who is the

BC Regional Innovation Chair in

Tourism and Sustainable Rural

Development and VIU Associate

Vice-President of Scholarship,

Research and Creative Activity.

Vaugeois says VIU is proud to

support this symposium. She says

Indigenous tourism is a booming

market that is growing, in part,

because people are increasingly

seeking not just adventure but authentic,

meaningful experiences

when they travel.

“This will be an event that brings

professionals together who have,

through trial and error, developed

exceptional community-driven

tourism businesses. For delegates,

the agenda is set up to stimulate

ideas that they can translate into

projects that support their own

community’s economic, sustainability

and cultural tourism aspirations,”

said Vaugeois.

Registration is now open for the

symposium. To learn more please

go to Sustainable Indigenous Tourism

Symposium, 2017.

— Gazette Staff/

VIU news release