Back in February 2024, a delegation of folks connected to Indigenous tourism in our region visited Aotearoa (New Zealand) to learn about what Māori iwis (tribes) and Māori-owned tourism businesses are doing in the regenerative tourism space. The delegation comprised of Maria Clark (Tla-o-qui-aht owned Tin Wis Resort), Gisele Martin (Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks), Brad Parsell (Tourism Tofino), Paula Amos (Indigenous Tourism BC), Natasha Amos (Squamish First Nation) and Jim Barr (Seekers Media) – pictured below with Dean Savage from Dive Tatapouri. The goal of the trip was to learn about how the Indigenous tourism sector in Aotearoa has evolved and how it was being leveraged to lift up the Māori people despite ongoing challenges with colonialism.

The group would like to thank NZ Māori Tourism and Nadine Toe Toe from Kohutapu Lodge for helping organize the itinerary. Learnings from the trip are currently being incorporated into a 10-year Tla-o-qui-aht tourism plan that will eventually feed into the planned update of the Tofino Tourism Master Plan.

Brad was able to spend a few extra days with the team at Destination Queenstown and learned a lot about their renowned Destination Management Plan – including their ambitious goal of being carbon-zero as a tourism industry by 2030. Despite being very different destinations, Tofino and Queenstown face many of the same challenges and share the same goals of making tourism a net-benefit for their communities.

To hear more about the trip to Aotearoa, take a listen to Maria Clark and Brad Parsell being interviewed by Cameron Dennison on Tuff City Radio on March 20, 2024: