Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise NetworkAbout
The NSITEN is a volunteer based, not for profit cultural tourism organization that develops specific project based training aimed at growing the capacity of individuals, businesses and community lead tourism initiatives.
STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION
The NSITEN is structured as an incorporated not for profit organization that works to develop both short and long term capacity building initiatives aimed at strengthening cultural and business offerings of qualified Indigenous business owners and community enterprises focused on tourism.
The current structure of the board of directors is in an interim basis and is currently being guided by the many volunteer individuals that comprise the founding directors of the organization.
It is this collective process that has driven many new and exciting projects in cultural tourism across Canada. These development projects focus on promoting authentic products and business services as well as keying in quality authentic experiences. These are the type of initiatives that will be offered to tourists from around the world that will visit the many Indigenous locations across Nova Scotia.
The beautiful and rich history of the Mi’kmaw people of Mi’kmaki (Atlantic Region) is a key focus of our organization and plays an important role in all of our future tourism offerings.
We have occupied these lands for thousands of years and our people have survived many cultural challenges. Our traditional histories of survival keep us strong still today.
NSITEN MEANS “UNDERSTAND”
The path forward
NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR INDIGENOUS TOURISM
NSITEN is also connected directly to the work that is being done on the national level with the board of directors of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and their five year national plan called the “Path Forward”.
This national initiative is representative of the collective work of many dedicated individuals such as Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) as well as the many regional directors on the national board.
Mr. Robert Bernard has sat on this national board for the past three years serving in roles such as the regular Nova Scotia representative (2014-2015), Executive Secretary (2015-2016) and most recently as the Executive Chair (2016-17).
In December of 2016, Mr. Bernard and Mr. Henry worked to bring the IATC to the Atlantic Region for the first time. Through the financial support from the ITAC and other regional funding organizations such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the local office for Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Office of Aboriginal Affairs (OAA) & other Provincial funding partners they were able to organize a sold out event offering a brand new approach to educating the mainstream tourism industry to the benefits of including indigenous cultural tourism as a strong and authentic experience to world travellers that will be coming to Nova Scotia and across Canada.
Over 350 registrants from around the world had a chance to hear from many very knowledgeable and experienced tourism keynote and workshop presenters, including many of the Atlantic Region’s Indigenous community and business people that were well represented at the 2016 IATC.
This conference and the discussions leading up to hosting this major Indigenous tourism event were the beginnings of what would be the first steps towards formulating a plan of action for the development of the Provincial Indigenous tourism body for Nova Scotia’s Indigenous communities.
These roles have really allowed Mr. Bernard to gain valuable insight into the potential impact that cultural indigenous tourism can have on the socio-economic planning and opportunities for Indigenous communities and people across Canada and the world.
“Visitors to Atlantic Canada are excited to explore our coast and experience the rich landscapes that we’re proud to call home.
This is Nova Scotia’s time to showcase its unique and developing tourism industry. The new Nova Scotia Working Group will provide guidance and direction on the long-term success of Indigenous tourism in Nova Scotia.”
~ Robert Bernard, ITAC Nova Scotia Representative