Media Contacts:
Gretchen Hall
[email protected]

Krystal Carter
tartanbond, on behalf of ITAC
[email protected]

Jovily Martone
tartanbond, on behalf of ITAC
[email protected]

Destinations International Strengthens Commitment to Indigenous Tourism through New ITAC Partnership

Washington, D.C., USA (April 4, 2024)Destinations International (DI), the leading resource for destination organizations, today announced a new partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). This alliance aims to deepen the understanding and appreciation of Indigenous tourism through education, fostering authentic engagement and promoting The Original Original mark of excellence.

Both organizations feel this collaboration is a step towards empowering destinations to engage authentically with Indigenous tourism business owners, benefiting both visitors and Indigenous communities.

"Through our partnership with Destinations International, we aim to foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous tourism and its cultural significance within the global travel industry,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of ITAC.  “Through education and raising awareness of The Original Original mark of excellence, we empower destinations to authentically engage with Indigenous tourism business owners, thereby enriching the travel experience for visitors while promoting economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples. Further, Destinations International’s strategic priorities for destination organizations in 2024 align with ITAC’s vision to help make Canada become the global leader in Indigenous tourism by 2030."

Reflecting on the successful 2024 International Indigenous Tourism Conference, DI's Chief Inclusion Officer, Sophia Hyder Hock, emphasized the association's ongoing initiatives to promote genuine appreciation over appropriation and to amplify Indigenous voices in tourism. "Our partnership with ITAC aligns perfectly with these efforts, further enabling us to support our members in making meaningful contributions to cultural preservation and understanding."

Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International, added, "This partnership signifies a milestone in our journey towards fostering a more inclusive and diverse tourism industry. By prioritizing Indigenous-led storytelling and education on The Original Original mark, we underscore our commitment to responsible and respectful destination management."

As destination management organizations get ready to welcome the return of summer, there is no better time than now for industry and travelers to support the revitalization of Indigenous cultures by choosing The Original Original mark of excellence.

The collaboration will also feature a joint research project with destination organizations to explore best practices in Indigenous tourism, setting a precedent for how destinations worldwide can engage with and support Indigenous-led tourism initiatives.


About Destinations International:
Destinations International is the world’s largest and most reliable resource for destination organizations. In short - DI educates, equips, and empowers our members to grow the success of their destinations and to excel professionally. Membership grants access to a wealth of important industry resources, educational opportunities, and exclusive benefits. For more information, visit

About Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC):
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a national non-profit Indigenous tourism industry organization established in 2015. ITAC is the lead organization tasked with growing and promoting the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with groups and regions with similar mandates to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism businesses in a respectful protocol.

About the Author

Gretchen Hall

Chief Operating Officer
Destinations International

With over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, Gretchen has a proven track record of strong leadership, sustainable growth, innovative strategy and delivering results. She is a respected leader holding positions on various travel industry association boards and committees. Prior to joining Destinations International, Gretchen worked at the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) and in the sports industry; developing and managing youth basketball tournaments across the US.

During her tenure at LRCVB, Gretchen provided leadership with several signature developments including the Grand Opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, the 50th Anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School which including the opening of a new National Parks museum and managing the $70 million renovation and expansion of Robinson Performance Hall and Conference Center. As Chief Operating Officer, Gretchen is responsible for the strategic development, implementation, communication and retention of global membership and partner initiatives for Destinations International.

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