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Indigenous food tourism at centre of new partnership agreement

Indigenous Tourism Ontario, Destination Northern Ontario signed memorandum of understanding
The Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre serves a range of locally supplied products including whitefish, bison, berries, and honey. (Supplied photo)

Two of the province’s leading tourism organizations have agreed to partner on the promotion of Indigenous culinary tourism in Northern Ontario, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Indigenous Tourism Ontario and Destination Northern Ontario (DNO) signed the MOU on Nov. 20 during the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit in Timmins.

The agreement outlines ways for the two organizations to continue to work closely together to promote Indigenous food tourism across the North. It will complement the Northern Ontario Indigenous Food Tourism Strategy, the development of which is nearly complete.

Created as a pilot project for Ontario, it outlines a framework for building and offering authentic Indigenous food tourism experiences. It will eventually be rolled out across Canada.

“Destination Northern Ontario has always been proactive in reaching out to work with the Indigenous tourism sector to help to grow our industry which is so vitally important to tourism here in the North and in our province,” Kevin Eshkawkogan, president and CEO of Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), said in a Nov. 20 news release.

“It is our plan to consult on a regular basis to ensure that we continue to play a cutting-edge role in that development.”

Marty Kalagian, president of Destination Northern Ontario (DNO), pointed to growing demand for Indigenous experiences worldwide.

“As overseas travellers increasingly look to Northern Ontario as a destination of choice for unique cultural experiences, the time could not be better to be embarking on this journey with our partners,” he said in the release.

Destination Northern Ontario, one of 13 regional tourism organizations in the province, works to build a strong tourism industry in the North. 

Indigenous Tourism Ontario is the province’s first and only dedicated Indigenous organization that focuses on uniting communities, Indigenous organizations to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.