SPEAKERS
 
            


 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2015
 
World Indigenous Tourism Alliance
8:30-9:15
 
JOHNNY EDMONDS
Director  |  World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA)  |  New Zealand
     
  Johnny Edmonds is Director of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA). He is also a traditional owner in Aotearoa NZ and the Owner/Director of NZ-based consulting companies that specialize in Indigenous economic development.

Johnny has held executive management positions for various Indigenous non-profit organisations for the past 17 years including the Waitangi National Trust, Taitokerau Regional Maori Tourism Organisation, NZ Maori Tourism Council and Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council.

Prior to that, Johnny held statutory and executive management positions in the NZ government including national Commissioner of Crown Lands with responsibility for managing the crown’s interest in land.
    Presentation: Commitment and the Development of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance

Our Indigenous-led organisations continue to develop and demonstrate the relevance of Indigenous paradigms and values in the corporate world of business, not just for Indigenous peoples but all peoples.

Commitment has ancient origins for Indigenous peoples. The role of commitment in the performance of the Aboriginal tourism industry provides the opportunity to reflect on the recent and comparatively rapid development of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance Limited (WINTA) and its achievements in relation to the collective wellbeing of the tourism industry.
     
BEN SHERMAN
Chairman, Leadership Council  |  World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA)  |  USA
     
Ben Sherman is a member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Nation, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. Sherman is a founding member of the Native Tourism Alliance, Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel, First Peoples Fund, American Indian/Alaska Native Tourism Association and the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance. Sherman has been a national leader in the development of American Indian tourism efforts in the United States. He has organized and presided over numerous American Indian tourism development conferences, workshops and trade shows.

Sherman is the president of Medicine Root, Inc., a Colorado company specializing in American Indian business development, tourism and native arts projects. The company organized and conducted custom tours in various regions of the United States, showcasing Native peoples, cultures and lands. Sherman is focusing efforts on building a strong and effective international network of Indigenous groups and representatives from around the globe. This work is coupled with programs to build bridges of collaboration within the tourism industry.
   
Presentation: Indigenous Values Help Influence a Universal Tourism Ethic


Our Indigenous communities from around the planet are defining common values in their tourism programs that attract visitors seeking transformational and authentic experiences. They communicate a set of ancient beliefs in the intricate connection between humans and the natural world. These beliefs carry a deep and powerful message that can capture the hearts and lift the souls of people who have long forgotten the teachings of their forebears.

Indigenous people around the planet carry a deep respect and abiding love for our Mother, the earth, and all the living things that create the sacred circle of life. Indigenous values of generosity, respect, reciprocity and spirituality shape guiding principles for a brand of tourism hospitality and sustainability that offers universal appeal.

Industry professionals avoid the more intimate expressions, while Indigenous people readily embrace sacred ecology, holistic balance, kinship among all life forms, and practice reciprocal relationships with the natural world. They demonstrate an abiding love for all of life, showing empathy for the stress that we humans create in nature, expressing reverence for the Earth as a living organism, and honoring human life as a part of the larger circle of life.

Indigenous people have long practiced principles of what is today called sustainable tourism, an approach that embraces elements of earth care, authentic cultures, spectacular landscapes, and the best hospitality. Tourism enterprises worldwide that offer their versions of earth stewardship can do well to learn the wisdom, teachings and land ethics of Indigenous people that express the need to treat our planet with the greatest respect and care.
     
     
Commitment to actively contribute to the collective wellbeing of the tourism industry
9:15-10:15
     
DR. SONYA GRACI
Associate Professor  |  Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson  |  Canada
     
  Dr. Sonya Graci is an Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson, University in Toronto, Ontario. She is also the Director of Accommodating Green, a boutique sustainable tourism consultancy.  Dr. Graci has worked on numerous projects around the world related to sustainable tourism development and has focused her attention on community capacity building in Honduras, Indonesia, Canada, Fiji and China. She has a keen interest in working with Aboriginal communities in developing sustainable forms of tourism. She has recently returned from a research trip to New Zealand and Australia to study best practices in Aboriginal tourism. Dr. Graci is the author of two books and several journal articles and industry publications. Her blog at www.accommodatinggreen.com follows her adventures around the world and her quest for best practices in sustainable tourism.
    Presentation: Examining Successful Aboriginal Tourism Products From Across the Globe. Lessons Learned from Peru, Canada, New Zealand and Fiji

Aboriginal tourism is quickly proving to be a viable economic development strategy as well as a catalyst for cultural renaissance in Aboriginal communities worldwide. In addition to new business opportunities and jobs created by this emerging industry, new revenues can be directed towards the residential, educational and social priorities of the host community. Actively participating in tourism excites and informs individuals, empowers communities, and prompts cross cultural understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.  

To fully realize these opportunities, the Aboriginal tourism industry must take steps to address issues affecting communities, product, markets and human resources, as raised by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders. Primarily, a lack of awareness of the opportunities and the support systems available often prevents Aboriginal communities from actively engaging in or pursuing this industry. There is also the need to understand the standard of quality demanded by the market.  From an Aboriginal perspective, one of the most significant challenges is ensuring that cultural integrity be maintained and respected at all times.

The aforementioned challenges notwithstanding, there is a strong demand for high-quality, authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences from consumers around the world. This presentation will provide best practices from several Aboriginal communities worldwide. The case studies provide examples of successful Aboriginal tourism products and the challenges they faced in development and operation. It will explore the success of communities and products in Peru, Canada, New Zealand and Fiji. Lessons learned from these case studies will provide valuable insight for recommendations on how to develop a successful Aboriginal tourism product.
 
JEAN-PHILIPPE LE MOIGNE
Ecotourism Professor  |  Duoc UC – School of Tourism  |  Chile
     
  Master Development & Management of Tourism in Territories from Université Paris I Panthéon – Sorbonne, and Forestry Engineer diploma. Professional of tourism and environmental Sciences with more than 12 years of experience, with specialization in Sustainable Tourism & Rural Development, Ecotourism and Management of Tourism in Protected Areas, participating as consultant and researcher in different projects to the private and public sectors in Chili.

He has been working as ecotourism professor for 5 years at Duoc UC in Chile. Teaching courses related to sustainable tourism and ecotourism planning – tourism impacts - environmental interpretation - Tourism and protected areas – among others.
   
Presentation: Challenges of governance and sustainable tourism management mapulahual territory

Click here for the article

Territories generally have great difficulty in the management and development of tourism. These complexities are intensified in areas with indigenous presence and natural richness, where tourism appears as an opportunity to improve the population's quality of life and at the same time biodiversity’s preservation. The heterogeneity of actors and perspectives complicate governance issues, slowing the development of territories.

This research was carried out between 2012 / 2014 in Mapulahual territory, which is composed of different rural communities. Located at 924 km south from Santiago (Capital city of Chili), on the coast of the City of Osorno, in Los Lagos’ region, specifically in a remote and isolated area. The territory presents a significant ecologically importance and remoteness that given it attractiveness to develop nature based tourism. But, the multiple public and private actors that are present in the area, complicate territory’s governance which results in a slowing tourist development process.

Tourism today is a real opportunity to combat poverty, but at first glance there are several weaknesses such as poor planning, low quality of services, and a non-existent promotion, among others.

The study overall objective is to analyze governance and positioning of local actors face to tourism as a alternative of development, in order to establish parameters for more effective sustainable management, giving answer at questions like What are the various issues of governance planning in relation to the development of Mapulahual as sustainable tourism destination?, and what is the level of commitment of stakeholders to get effectively and efficiently management?
     
RICK MACLEOD FARLEY
Owner  |  MacLeod Farley & Associates  |  Canada
     
  Rick MacLeod Farley is an Irish- and French-Canadian development economist that is hired by Indigenous communities across Canada to assist with ecotourism and other development projects.  His firm, MacLeod Farley & Associates, has helped secure more than $55 million in financing for projects including the Cree Village Ecolodge and was a top ten finalist in the 2007 World Proposal Championships.  Rick has an Honours Economics degree, has studied towards a Master’s in Rural Development, and served for 4 years on the board of The International Ecotourism Society, speaking at events in Madison, Vancouver, Hilton Head and Quebec City.
    Presentation: Securing Financial Partnerships for your Indigenous Tourism Project

Rick MacLeod Farley has been extensively involved in Indigenous ecotourism development for the past twenty five years as a staff-person from 1990 to 1994, and as a consultant hired by communities across Canada since 1995.  He will share detailed tactics on effective steps to develop your tourism project and secure financial and other partnerships.  He will share examples of past and current Indigenous ecotourism and tourism projects in Canada.  His ‘Group of Seven’ inspired financing tactics ‘from the field’ include telling your story, imagery and visuals, creating phases, dealing with curve balls and dead ends and persistence.  Rick speaks passionately to the need to support Indigenous leadership at all levels of ecotourism development including local, regional, national and international.
     
ATAC: Increasing awareness about Aboriginal tourism
10:30-11:30
     
Presentation:
ATAC: Increasing awareness about Aboriginal tourism


The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada is a national Aboriginal tourism industry organization which included approximately twenty four (24) members who strive to increase awareness about Aboriginal tourism across Canada.
 
The ATAC panel will provide key national industry initiatives. The ATAC panelists will highlight the latest industry work including the development of a new national website portal, the latest national research on the economic value of Aboriginal tourism in Canada and other key national marketing initiatives that are being planned for 2015 to increase awareness of the Aboriginal tourism experiences across the country.
     
KEITH HENRY
Chief Executive Officer | Aboriginal Toruism Association of British Colombia  |  Canada
     
  Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henry achieved a B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995.

Mr. Henry is President and CEO of KCD Consulting Incorporated and works with Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia and other projects throughout BC.

Mr. Henry volunteers time in the Aboriginal community and maintains several board positions including the chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, current member of the Minister’s Council on Tourism, Vancouver Board of Trade’s Aboriginal Opportunities Committee, Destination British Columbia Marketing Committee, World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, President of the White Buffalo Aboriginal and Métis Health Society, and current President of the BC Métis Federation.
     
NICK WARD
Founder and Director  |  The Update Company  |  Canada
     
  Nick Ward grew up in England and studied engineering at the University of Cambridge. After early roles with blue chip companies, Nick developed a consulting and project management business, met his Canadian wife, spent two years sailing with their two children and ended up in British Columbia. He is a founder and Director of The Update Company, delivering online marketing and web design services with a focus on the Tourism and Service industries. Nick is also the Chair of a local charity and actively involved in school and community projects.
     
CRAIG VAN DER MERWE
Founder  |  The Update Company  |  Canada
     
  Craig van der Merwe has over 20 years of tourism experience ranging from guiding to training and development and marketing. He has also been working in the graphic design and web development fields for the past 15 years. For the last five years, Craig has worked closely with the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC to enhance their online activities. He is also a founder of The Update Company, delivering a full portfolio of online marketing services. Craig lives on Vancouver Island with his two sons and a menagerie of pets.
     
BEVERLEY O'NEIL
President  |  O'Neil Marketing & Consulting and Numa Communications Ltd  |  Canada
     
  Beverley O’Neil is President of O'Neil Marketing & Consulting and Numa Communications Ltd. Both companies are 100% Aboriginal owned and controlled. She has worked on many initiatives that have laid the foundation for Aboriginal tourism in Canada, especially British Columbia. She was instrumental in creating the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (AtBC), beginning with meetings of the BC Aboriginal Tourism Group, and was lead consultant on the Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy for BC.
     
     
Luncheon with Guest of honor
11:45-13:15
     
MICHÈLE AUDETTE
Past President  |  Native Women's Association of Canada  |  Canada
     
  Born to an Innu mother involved in First Nations jurisdiction in education and a Quebecer father, former President of Schefferville's IOC mining union, I was raised at the confluence of two cultures.

Such a family history greatly influenced the direction which my career took in the political struggle for aboriginal women's rights within government agencies and associations at the provincial and national levels.

Within these organizations, I've contributed to the advancement of the socioeconomic empowerment of communities, gender equality rights, justice, family, youth, and the relations between First Nations and Québec. We need to bring aboriginal communities and the general population closer together, develop a deeper sense of mutual understanding and strive for unity in the face of common challenges. Great challenges often go hand-in-hand with great opportunities.
     
Commitment to the management of human resources in improving performance
13:30-14:45
     
TERI FREITAS GORMAN
Intercultural Communications Expert  |  E Ola Pono LLC  |  USA
     
  Teri Freitas Gorman is managing partner for Native-owned E Ola Pono LLC, Hawaiian cultural advisors serving the visitor industry. She is the former VP Corporate Communication for ML&P, owner of Kapalua Resort on Maui. She previously served as VP External Affairs for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Florida and Marketing Director for both the Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand and for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. A graduate of UCLA, she lectures on Communications for the First Nations Futures Fellowship at Stanford University and on Cultural Tourism at Syracuse University each fall. 
    Presentation: The Power of Place-Indigenous Cultural Training for Visitor Industry Partners

For decades industrial tourism has homogenized the visitor experience by establishing western values, standards and practices that suit tourists (guests) with little thought about impact on area natives (hosts). As a result, the unique attributes of Place have eroded over time. Ironically, today’s travelers are demanding unique experiences that clearly reflect and express Place. In his book, Rise of the Creative Class, American urban theorist Richard Florida said, “Place is becoming the central organizing unit of our economy and society.” Ironically, for the word’s indigenous peoples, this has always been so.  

This presentation addresses the question:  when the tourism workforce is ignorant or misinformed about the place they represent, how can the indigenous population encourage industry partners to better understand and honor the history, customs, protocols and cultural practices of Place? This case study explores the importance of context for delivering powerful content. It also includes a methodology for connecting hosts to place through a Native lens, quantifying employee learning and engagement, and recommendations for collaboration so Native people can introduce and facilitate cultural training in tourism businesses in their areas.

This presentation also explores online education as an effective method to deliver place-based cultural training.  Ancient knowledge combined with modern technology can effectively engage the Millennial Generation, now entering the workforce. Self-paced online learning is compared and contrasted to traditional face-to-face training methods.  Alternatives such as blended learning are also discussed.
     
STEPHEN OLLERENSHAW
Principal Consultant  |  Ollerenshaw  |  Australia
     
  Steve Ollerenshaw is a renowned educator, international sports coach, speaker and expert in the field of workforce development (particularly in the area tourism and hospitality). Over recent years Steve has worked with a number of indigenous businesses in Australia as well as project managing a national labour and skills strategy for the tourism and hospitality industry which engaged directly with nearly 100 indigenous tourism businesses. He is currently negotiating with government to fund the delivery of a targeted workforce development strategy for up to 250 indigenous tourism businesses with the key outcomes being sustainable businesses, increased employment opportunities, and healthy, happy, prosperous indigenous communities, and continues to work with indigenous businesses for no fee. Steve has been a regular speaker at indigenous tourism conferences, tourism & hospitality conferences, education conferences, and knowledge economy conferences in Australia, Canada and China. For nearly 20 years Steve was a school teacher and has undertaken doctoral research in both special needs education, and ethics & integrity of education leadership.
   
Presentatio
n: Creating sustainable indigenous tourism businesses through effective and culturally appropriate workforce planning and development


Click here for the Discussion Paper

Through a case study approach this presentation will draw upon evidence from a number of projects undertaken in Australia over the past 3 years. In each case the projects focused on developing understanding and skills around workforce planning within an Indigenous business and then applying these skills.

Sustainable indigenous “cultural” tourism is critical to the economic prosperity, autonomy and independence of indigenous communities. Providing effective sure mechanisms for indigenous tourism businesses to flourish not only presents an opportunity to break down cultural barriers through visitor experiences but also develops skills, enhanced self-worth and a re-connection with culture for local indigenous people. Evidence supports how the development of sustainable indigenous tourism businesses within a community influences the sustainability of other local businesses and in turn how this cumulative effect contributes to these communities both economically and socially.

The case study material is drawn from 90 indigenous businesses in Australia and shows an understanding and application of workforce planning and workforce development enhances business sustainability, particularly when workforce planning is applied within a cultural context. The presentation identifies key business issues and the importance of acknowledging and respectfully managing cultural imperatives within the solution.

The presentation highlights how workforce planning sits at the centre of the business plan, helps identify the organisational roles and the job skills required to deliver appropriate tourism services, whether those roles and skills exist within the organisation, to what extent they exists and if not how to source and development people for the business.

Individual businesses and communities have not been identified as a matter of respect.
     
LINDA SARAZIN
Director of Operations and Tourism Facilitator  |  Aboriginal Experiences, Arts & Culture  |  Canada
     
  Linda is a National Instructor delivering CTHRC National e-merit training certification courses such as Heritage Interpreters (HEI) with a cultural lens to support the development of authentic Aboriginal Tourism.   Over the last four years, Linda has delivered a number of customized training programs across Canada through the Aboriginal Cultural Ambassador program which bring the CTHRC certifications together with Aboriginal culture and teachings.    Her training programs delivered in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver have lead to over 30 Aboriginal HEI graduates who are currently working towards the required hours for their National certification as Heritage Interpreters.
    Presentation: Why are exceptional Guides and Interpreters so important
 
Guides and Interpreters - How can you broaden your knowledge, skills and delivery  to ensure that your guests receive the most of your presentation/tour? What are employers looking for in their Interpreters/Guides?  How can your employer assist you in your professional development which becomes a win/ win for everybody?  This workshop will offer ideas on how to achieve the next level, providing your guest with a true "experience" through your interpretation. 
     
ROBIN McGINLEY
Executive Director  |  Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association (COTA)  |  Canada
     
  Robin McGinley is a member of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. In 2000, after completing her Master degree, she was given the task of implementing section 28.6 of the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement (1975) and in December 2000, the Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association (COTA) was incorporated. Thereafter, COTA negotiated to create the 22nd Regional Tourism Association in Quebec, Eeyou Istchee Tourism. She is proud to be able to work with the Cree communities and regional non-native partners to develop a world-class sustainable tourism destination in Eeyou Istchee Baie James.
    Presentation: Supporting industry growth and authenticity by raising awareness about employment opportunities
 
The aboriginal tourism sector is growing in Québec and an increase in the tourism offer means more opportunities and job diversity for the First Nations and Inuit. Despite a significant growth in the jobs created in recent years, the number of aboriginal employees in companies has been declining. To support the development and authenticity of our industry, people, the youth in particular, should be made aware of career opportunities available in the tourism industry. A video project was designed for web platforms and classrooms to target future employees and managers. The video showcases the dynamism and diversity of jobs available in aboriginal tourism.
     
Commitment to create partnerships in reaching new heights
15:00-16:15
     
SIMON HAIGH
Chief Executive Officer  |  Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC)  |  Australia
     
 
Simon is consulting CEO to WAITOC, the peak not for profit association representing Aboriginal tourism operators throughout WA.
 
Simon holds a BA (Hons) Law from Durham University, England, an MBA from Curtin University, Western Australia and is a member of the Australian Institute of Management and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Simon started his career as a private practice lawyer, followed by executive management positions in the US, Europe and, since 2007, Perth Australia. Simon was previously CEO of NANA Australia Pty Ltd. Prior to that, he managed Indigenous Economic Development - Sustainability at BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
    Presentation: WAITOC 4 year corporate partnership strategy

WAITOC is currently almost totally reliant on funding from the WA government. In order to become increasingly self-sustaining and to promote Corporate and Private Sector involvement, participation and partnership with WAITOC, its operators and in the Aboriginal Tourism sector in WA in general, WAITOC needs to increase the level of non-WA Government funding it receives. WAITOC has set a target that by 2018 at least 50% of its funding will be derived from non-WA Government sources.

To achieve this objective WAITOC has commissioned a specialist marketing consultancy to help formulate and implement an in-depth Corporate Strategy and Strategic Marketing Plan to increase corporate involvement in Aboriginal Tourism in a step-by-step and multi-faceted way over the next 4 years. This strategy has 5 key components as follows –
  • Sponsorship and Partnership - to educate and inform corporate targets about the role of WAITOC and provide snapshots of some of the export ready products from its partners. Existing corporate partners will provide advocacy in this process
  • Corporate Product Development – to identify and develop specific products that can be delivered in conjunction with WAITOC members
  • New Process Development – to identify gaps in the current processes and seek to develop new processes to make it easier for corporate customers and tourism trade partners to be regularly informed about new products
  • Traditional Wholesale Channel – to provide wholesalers with easy access to Aboriginal tourism product offerings
  • Tourism Partnerships – to develop even closer partnerships with Tourism WA and Regional Tourism Organizations to work together to promote unique Aboriginal cultural experiences
     
CARLEY DUCKMANTON
Aboriginal Engagement and Consultation Officer  |  Office of the Chief Executive Officer,
Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Parks Canada  |  Canada
     
  Carley has been with Parks Canada for the past 7 years and during that time has held various positions. Currently with the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, she is leading research on advancing Aboriginal tourism and other economic opportunities. Her passions include tourism-based long-term community benefits. After completing a Bachelor of Tourism Management with Distinctions (Vancouver Island University, 2002), her international tourism studies and employment experiences included: Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (South Pacific); leading an International Aboriginal Youth Program (Guyana, South America); and student Field School (Malaysia, Southeast Asia). With family connections to Wales, Germany, Scotland, Secwepemc Nation, Carley resides in Ucluelet, Canada.
    Presentation: Advancing Aboriginal Tourism and other Economic Opportunities at Parks Canada

This presentation introduces research initiatives and work underway at Parks Canada (PCA) aiming to advance Aboriginal tourism and other economic opportunities. PCA has corporate priorities to build meaningful relationships, increase Aboriginal programming, commemorate Aboriginal themes, create employment opportunities, and strengthen economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal tourism in Canada as a means for welcoming visitors, preserving culture and growing businesses can assist in advancing PCA’s corporate priorities and provide economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities, businesses, groups or organizations whom PCA collaborates with.

Current research includes a PCA internal scan: “Case Study: Advancing Aboriginal Tourism and other Economic Opportunities at PCA” and external Aboriginal tourism research and collaborations. The PCA internal Case Study research aims to draw knowledge and learning from a variety of successful Aboriginal tourism and economic initiatives and collaborations throughout PCA. The research also intends to identify opportunities and factors to achieving replicable success and identify common themes related to barriers internal to PCA to influence change. To ensure PCA research is in-line with Canada-wide Aboriginal tourism initiatives, research external to PCA is required on successes, knowledge and learnings including Aboriginal tourism businesses, tourism industry leaders, groups, organizations and governments working to advance Aboriginal tourism and economic opportunities. Research includes working with a Masters Student, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC and participating in a variety of working groups, discussions and collaborations.

This presentation will introduce PCA, the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Aboriginal communities, collaborations and partnerships, and provide information on DRAFT research key themes and learnings to-date.
     
SAMTENLA SHERPA
Executive Director  |  Snow Leopard Trek Pvt Ltd  |  Nepal
     
  Samden Sherpa is the Executive Director of Snow Leopard Trek, a tourism company specialized in developing indigenous and sustainable ecotourism products. He has a Masters degree in Economics and advocates for a cooperative model of tourism. Samden is the General Secretary of Cunina Nepal, a non profit that works in the field of education for indigenous children of Nepal. He is a member of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and has engaged as a Tourism Consultant for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and also as an Economic Consultant for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
    Presentation: The Changing Dyanmic of the Sherpas in Mountaineering

Sherpas, the natives of the Everest die every year in accidents in mountaineering expeditions.   But, 2014 will go down as the most tragic year for the Sherpas, who are mostly involved in the climbing industry. In spring 2014, an avalanche struck the Everest expedition and caused the deaths of 16 Sherpa climbers. Similarly, in October 2014, a blizzard hit the ThorongLa pass (5,416m) and resulted in the death of more than 30 tourists, locals and guides.   
These incidents should ring alarm and can be seen as symptomatic of a deeper malaise in the Nepalese tourism industry that demand for deeper structural changes. This presentation attempts to investigate the fissures in the Nepalese mountaineering industry and seeks to make recommendations for a thorough structural change in favor of a more indigenous driven tourism.

(I) Weak Partnerships Amongst Stakeholders
The partnership amongst the different stakeholders in the climbing industry such as the government, foreign and local tour operators, domestic airlines, climbers and the Sherpa community is one of uneven distribution of income, distrust and disrespect of each other, unaccountability, fierce competition and sometimes outright violence.
Whilst most of the mountaineering revenue goes unaccountable in government coffers and to foreign and local operators, the local community has to live with the threat of climate change. The threat of glacier outbursts is elevated from the increase in tourism activities and the waste that is left behind from climbing expeditions.

(II) Loss of Identity, culture and tradition.
A focauldian power relation between western climbers and Sherpas has manufactured several Sherpa stereotypes.  On the other hand, Sherpas have had to let go of traditional values in favour of a deregulated crass market based competitive system. Modernity and western culture has stormed into the Sherpa way of life whilst the Sherpas left unawares by this intrusion have had to adapt without a choice.
 
Recommendations:

(I) Exploit the Advantages of a Cooperative Economic System
 Sherpas need only to look inwards into their indigenous value systems to realize our traditional values such as mutual aid, compassion, generosity and rigor. Also, these values are incompatible with the values of the current economic model and so a much more cooperative model of tourism is recommended.

(II) Exceptional Partnerships Need to Be Developed.
It is imperative that a major share of the royalty earned from mountaineering be ploughed back to the local communities. Therefore, a federal system of government is recommended so that government is made inclusive and responsive to the needs of indigenous communities.
Foreign and Local tour operators need to adopt best practices in ethical business by raising wages, life insurance coverage, increasing safety in climbing, reducing waste and conserving culture and environment.
Foreign guides should understand that the only reason local Sherpa climbers take higher risks but are paid substantially lower than their foreign counterparts is because of their being native to the Everest region. Exploitation of Indigenous labor needs to stop.
Sherpas need to reconstruct their identity based on indigenous value systems.
     
RANDA NAPKY
General Manager  |  Abitibi-Témiscamingue's Regional Touristic Association  |  Canada
     
  Randa Napky is the Executive Director of ATR de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue since 1999. She has a strong business background and followed a course in accounting at the UQAT. Randa participated in the Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. She plays a leading role in tourism, and her enthusiasm gathers everyone around key, unifying and economically-viable projects. She is actively involved in regional development along with the team of Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue. International organisations like the UNESCO showed interest in Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue due to the way it operates and the example it has set in terms of best practices in its field.
    Presentation: Culture – The unifying source of society
 
CULTURAT is a vast mobilization process initiated by Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue to bring about major developments in the identity, arts and heritage of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. It aims at embellishing the territory with outdoor art, lighting, green spaces and floral displays.

CULTURAT will revitalize communities by enlivening the region and highlighting the cultural-historical heritage while fostering links between sectors. Through CULTURAT, Abitibi-Témiscamingue is taking the initiative to improve its inhabitants' quality of life, increase their sense of belonging and pride and make the region more attractive from the perspective of sustainable development. It was important for Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue to get the aboriginal communities of the region involved and to promote their heritage, distinct culture, artists and crafts people. During this presentation, you will find out about this unique approach, the tools developed and collaborations with the aboriginal communities. Till date, 47 municipalities, 5 Band Councils and 11 organizations have signed up to be part of CULTURAT. Many school boards of the region, enterprises and inhabitants have also shown their support for CULTURAT.
     
FRANK POLSON
Self-taught Algonquin Artist  |  Canada
     
  Frank Polson is a self-taught Algonquin artist belonging to the Long Point First Nation in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. His works, consisting of paintings, sculptures and totem poles, are based on spiritual themes specific to Algonquin culture. For more than 20 years, he has brought the Anishinaabe territory into the limelight through his works and has inspired younger and older generations from various communities.
    Presentation: Culture – The unifying source of society
 
CULTURAT is a vast mobilization process initiated by Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue to bring about major developments in the identity, arts and heritage of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. It aims at embellishing the territory with outdoor art, lighting, green spaces and floral displays.

CULTURAT will revitalize communities by enlivening the region and highlighting the cultural-historical heritage while fostering links between sectors. Through CULTURAT, Abitibi-Témiscamingue is taking the initiative to improve its inhabitants' quality of life, increase their sense of belonging and pride and make the region more attractive from the perspective of sustainable development. It was important for Tourisme Abitibi-Témiscamingue to get the aboriginal communities of the region involved and to promote their heritage, distinct culture, artists and crafts people. During this presentation, you will find out about this unique approach, the tools developed and collaborations with the aboriginal communities. Till date, 47 municipalities, 5 Band Councils and 11 organizations have signed up to be part of CULTURAT. Many school boards of the region, enterprises and inhabitants have also shown their support for CULTURAT.