G Adventures has released a set of guidelines for tourism companies looking to work with the world’s many indigenous communities. In 2016, G Adventures partnered with the International Institute of Tourism Studies at the George Washington University to develop a set of practical, international guidelines. The goal was to create guidelines that could be used by any travel company wishing to offer experiences with indigenous communities. Using these guidelines, says G Adventures, companies can ensure business relationships, tours, and experiences are developed and operated in an ethical and respectful manner. Most of all, these interactions are required to uphold the communities’ traditions and customs.
Previously, world-renowned and respected organizations like the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada have produced guidelines for indigenous tourism. These guidelines ensured communities are well-prepared and producing tours that represent their identities in a respectful manner, as well as providing fantastic experiences for travellers.
G Adventures has sought to build on these documents and provide a set of guidelines that could be adopted by travel companies (tour operators, hotels, travel agencies, and cruise lines), or non-profit organizations who interact with indigenous companies. Before publication the guidelines were reviewed by an expert review panel comprised of some of the leading figures in indigenous tourism worldwide. The panel included Keith Henry, President & CEO, and Casey Vanden Heuval, Director of Business Development & Partnerships, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; Ben Sherman, Chairman, World IndigenousTourism Alliance; Camille Ferguson, Executive Director, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association; Jaranya Daengnoy, Director, Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute; Edward Hall III, Transportation Specialist & Tourism Coordinator, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior; John King, Chairman, Southern Travel Holdings Ltd.; and Judy Kepher Gona, Founder, Sustainable Travel andTourism Agenda.
Over the next 12 months, project partners will work with travel companies to pilot test the guidelines and ensure their applicability. The results of the pilot testing will be incorporated into a final document.
The guidelines can be accessed here: Indigenous People and the Travel Industry: Global Good Practice Guidelines.
This is an adapted excerpt from an article that first appeared on the G Adventures website.