Support the revitalization of Indigenous cultures by choosing The Original Original
When you join an experience that displays The Original Original mark, you are directly supporting Indigenous owned businesses. The revenue generated by these businesses flows back to Indigenous families and communities, helping to build economic independence and pride in culture.
Indigenous tourism is reconciliation in action. With your support of tourism operators who display The Original Original mark, you’re helping to build a more inclusive future in Canada.
About The Original Original Mark
Why is there a need for The Original Original mark?
While many businesses offer an Indigenous experience, not all Indigenous tourism experiences directly support Indigenous individuals, families and communities. The Original Original mark is the first of its kind and gives consumers peace of mind in knowing that they are directly supporting Indigenous Peoples.
How important is tourism to Indigenous Peoples in Canada?
Indigenous tourism is one of the biggest employers of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Fifty-seven per cent of employees in the sector are Indigenous, and one third of all businesses are owned by women—significantly higher than all other industries. Indigenous tourism is also one of the best catalysts for Indigenous cultural revitalization.
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous tourism was a fast-growing industry bringing an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2019, there were an estimated 40,000 Indigenous tourism employees and 1,900 Indigenous-led businesses. Post-COVID, the industry is actively building back to those numbers. By supporting businesses displaying The Original Original mark, you are helping speed the industry’s recovery.
How does supporting Indigenous tourism business improve the lives of Indigenous Peoples?
While The Original Original mark helps travellers easily and reliably recognize Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Canada, it also promotes direct and meaningful impact in at least six areas of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
The Original Original certification contributes directly to the revitalization of the Indigenous tourism industry which helps increase employment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and generate revenue for their communities.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Indigenous tourism provides the impetus for resilient infrastructure, as well as inclusive and sustainable industrialization. Businesses that display The Original Original mark are at the forefront of the industry, leading positive change.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Indigenous tourism provides the opportunity to make cities and communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by providing important economic opportunities, jobs, and pride of place.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Indigenous tourism providers integrate sustainability into their business models, offering visitors insight into the responsible consumption and production methods that have sustained their Peoples for millennia.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
The Original Original mark directly strengthens the means of implementation for sustainable development, giving market-ready and export-ready Indigenous tourism businesses a clear marker of quality.
What does the design of The Original Original mark represent?
Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples have been stewards of the lands and waters that make up modern day Canada, and they have been welcoming visitors for centuries. The Original Original mark conceptualizes the longevity of their hospitality by placing two Os within each other—representing the world and the cycle of life. A fire burns at the center with three unique yet united parts, representing the three groups of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
Which businesses can use The Original Original mark?
To use The Original Original mark, businesses must be evaluated by the Project RISE certification program and meet the following four key criteria:
- Be at least 51% Indigenous-owned
- Embrace the values of Indigenous tourism
- Offer a visitor-ready or export-ready experience
- Be a member of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)
How long has Project RISE certification been around?
The Project RISE certification program was first conceived of in 2019, and the program was officially launched in 2022. It is a collaboration between the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Tourism HR Canada. Click here to find out more about Project RISE.