Homalco First Nation’s tourism arm, Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours, was accredited as an Authentic Indigenous business by Indigenous Tourism B.C. (ITBC).
The Campbell River-based tourism company was recognized by ITBC for it’s salmon and grizzly conservation efforts along with low-impact tourism that prioritizes the preservation of Homalco First Nation’s people and lands. Cultural training and employment opportunities for members of Homalco First Nation, which the tourism company has modelled into its business approach, are other factors that were taken into account during the process.
The Authentic Indigenous designation is granted to Indigenous-owned and operated businesses that offer compelling, culturally-appropriate Indigenous tourism experiences. The designation helps travelers identify these experiences throughout the province and acknowledges that they are contributing to the revitalization and preservation of local Indigenous cultures and languages.
JP Obbagy, tourism development officer for Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours, said that the endorsement places them in an “elite category” and “helps them stand out as genuinely Indigenous,” among other tourism operators.
Despite COVID-19 abruptly halting all tours for 2020, Obbagy said that they were “excited” to be recognized by ITBC.
“This is a very exciting time for Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours and the Homalco First Nation, where we are proud to share local knowledge and educate guests from around the world about the importance of our cultural practices and language where connection and understanding transpires.”
There are only eight other Indigenous tourism operators in the province who have been accredited by ITBC as Authentic Indigenous businesses.