News releases

2010 Winter Games present prime-time opportunity to promote Aboriginal Tourism

Canadian Tourism Commission and Four Host First Nations sign historic partnership agreement

For Immediate Release

Vancouver, BC, February 10, 2009 -- As the world’s attention turns to Canada in the year leading up to the 2010 Winter Games, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) unveiled a strategy today highlighting Aboriginal tourism as a key focus.

“Aboriginal tourism and Canada’s tourism brand are a perfect match,” says Greg Klassen, Senior Vice-President, Marketing Strategy and Communications of the Canadian Tourism Commission. “They both feature storytelling and experiences and we’re honoured to partner with Aboriginal groups to build awareness of the rich history and inspiring experiences that travellers can have across the country.”

Klassen met with Tewanee Joseph, chief executive officer of the Four Host First Nations Society this week for a ceremonial signing of a Statement of Cooperation outlining how the partnership will unfold.

The Four Host First Nations (FHFN) is comprised of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, SquamishandTsleil-Waututh Nations. The FHFN will welcome the world to their shared ancestral territories in 2010. This is the first time that Indigenous Peoples have been recognized as full partners in an Olympic and Paralympic Games by the International Olympic Committee.

“The Olympics are going to be the biggest potlatch the world has ever seen,” says Joseph. “Thanks to the unprecedented level of Aboriginal participation, the world will learn about the rich histories and living cultures of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and Aboriginal tourism will be one of the great legacies of 2010.”

CTC research indicates that travellers across key markets are motivated to include aboriginal cultural experiences, celebrations and attractions in their travel plans. Interest is particularly high in Europe, measured in 2007 at 46% in the UK, 72% in Germany and 82% in France.

The CTC and the FHFN will work together to:

  • Partner on communications and media relations initiatives, such as video story packages, print and online stories, and media events 
  • Leverage the development and distribution of marketing products 
  • Develop Aboriginal Cultural Tourism programming for a projected seventeen days of operations of the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion during the 2010 Winter Games.

In addition to Aboriginal tourism, the CTC strategy will focus on tourism experiences that underscore five “unique selling propositions” that distinguish Canada from other destinations:

  • Vibrant cities on the edge of nature
  • Personal journeys by water, air or land
  • Active adventure among awe-inspiring natural wonders
  • Award winning Canadian local cuisine
  • Connecting with Canadians

It is anticipated that the Canadian tourism industry will be the greatest beneficiary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games when more than 3 billion viewers around the world tune in. With a $26 million federal investment, the CTC is leveraging the international exposure to drive tourism to Canada.

“Exposure like this comes only once in a lifetime; collectively with our tourism industry and Aboriginal leaders, we will show the world that this is where great stories happen, and the time to visit is now,” says Greg Klassen.

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About the CTC
The CTC is Canada’s national tourism marketing organization. Our vision is inspiring the world to explore Canada. With our partners in the tourism industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, we advertise and market Canada in nine countries around the world, conduct industry research and studies, and promote product and industry development. For research and statistics, news and media resources, travel information and events, please visit

For further information, please contact:

Janet Miller
Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Tourism Commission
(604) 638-8411
miller [dot] janet [at] ctc-cct [dot] ca

Alex Rose
Communications Director
Four Host First Nations
(604) 346-7720
agrose [at] shaw [dot] ca