Experienced practitioners from four continents are meeting to discuss the definition of indigenous tourism and to share their visions.
Indigenous tourism will be one of the topics at the ITB Berlin Convention for the first time. Behind the title “The art of creating committed and sustainably authentic indigenous tourism experiences” is the desire on the part of the providers of specialist tourism to benefit from tourism and present themselves to visitors as authentic and self-determined. The initiators of the event, Marcus Bauer and Susanna Hagen from the sustainable tourism network respontour - Mediennetzwerk für nachhaltigen Tourismus, are agreed: “As long as its marginalised, native communities are not included too, no destination can claim sustainability for itself.” This view is also shared by Ben W. Sherman, chairman of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA), who is the main speaker at this event. “Indigenous tour operators harmonise experiences in nature with a highly developed awareness of responsibility for the planet. They have a close connection with natural forces”, adds Sherman, who is himself a member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) nation in South Dakota (USA).
Authentic experiences from Rapa Nui to Norway
The Ma'u Henua indigenous community from Rapa Nui has agreed to take part in the brief opening ceremony. The panel is being chaired by Aurélie Debusschère, CEO of Native Immersion and head of the European branch of WINTA. The presence of John Barrett, Kapiti Island, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Magdalena Edith, Rapa Nui Tourism Authority (Easter Island) and Anniina Sandberg, Visit Natives, Norway, are the guarantee that this body will provide a global overview of the art of creating authentic, indigenous experiences. The guests on the panel will be discussing proven practices and will also investigate how indigenous tourism can set an aware movement in motion that will make tourism an effective instrument for the protection of the planet and its inhabitants. “We have invited experts in order to show how the travel and tourism sector can support the efforts of the native inhabitants to engage successfully in tourism”, explains Rika Jean-Francois, CSR appointee of ITB Berlin, who will open the seminar. “There are well-known tour operators who generate a significant proportion of their business through collaboration with these communities. This spirit of giving something back should serve as a model for other successful travel companies”, says Jean-Francois in explaining the motivation for this new forum, which it is hoped will be a feature of ITB Berlin in the future.
The seminar is taking place on Wednesday, 6 March from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Palais am Funkturm, and is being organised by ITB Berlin in collaboration with respontour and WINTA.