Program Offers New Opportunities for Aboriginal Tourism

YELLOWKNIFE (November 2, 2016) — The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has introduced the Aboriginal Tourism Champions Program as an incentive to develop and expand authentic cultural tourism products in communities across the Northwest Territories.

The vision of the program is to develop a network of Aboriginal champions that will work to strengthen cultural tourism capacity within communities and motivate organizations to use tourism initiatives as a stimulus for economic development and cultural revitalization.

Individuals identified under this program will act as a resource in smaller communities to provide guidance and support in the development of Aboriginal tourism products; and assist tourism operators in incorporating elements of Aboriginal culture into their existing operations.

The development of an Aboriginal Tourism Champions program is identified in the GNWT’s Tourism 2020 plan and responds to commitments made in the government’s mandate to advance culturally-based tourism.


“Our territory is unmatched in its ability to fill the growing market demand for Aboriginal and cultural tourism.  We are committed to helping communities realize economic opportunities from tourism in the NWT and finding unique and respectful approaches to share the traditional ways, arts and celebrations of our people.”

  • Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick facts

  • Eligibility under this program is restricted to NWT residents of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Inuit, or Métis) who were born in and reside in a NWT community.
  • Aboriginal tourism in Canada employs roughly 32,000 people, equaling roughly two percent of the entire Canadian travel sector workforce.
  • For the purpose of this program, Aboriginal tourism is defined as an authentic experience offered to visitors in a manner that is appropriate, respectful and true to the culture of Aboriginal people of the Northwest Territories and that actively involves Aboriginal people in the development or delivery of the tourism experience.

Relevant links

Media contact

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment   
867-767-9202 ext. 63037