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Aboriginal tourism operators applaud Approved Destination Status

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – British Columbia’s Aboriginal Tourism Association is applauding the awarding of Approved Destination Status to Canada by the Government of China, calling the announcement “tremendous news for aboriginal tourism and the revitalization of aboriginal culture in British Columbia.”

“We’re elated by this news, and we’ve long been ready for it. I want to congratulate everyone who worked to make this announcement a reality,” said Keith Henry, CEO of Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). “We already know there’s an appetite for aboriginal culture, traditions and cultural experiences in China and we’re ready to welcome those visitors at our stakeholder business operators across the province.”

AtBC’s board of directors met with a delegation of Chinese government representatives in early November 2009 to discuss the development of aboriginal cultural tourism products in British Columbia. At that meeting, Henry says the Chinese interest in aboriginal cultural tourism was made abundantly clear.

“This isn’t just good news for British Columbia’s tourism industry and aboriginal cultural tourism operators, it’s good news for aboriginal cultures and communities across the province,” Henry said. “Aboriginal cultural tourism is one of the ways aboriginal communities and entrepreneurs are developing profitable business plans while celebrating the traditions and customs of their people. Cultural tourism is providing employment for communities and helping revitalize traditional culture for younger generations. An influx of visitors from China is going to help create more than one success story for aboriginal cultural tourism in British Columbia.”

The 60 stakeholders with AtBC range from gallery curators to jet boat guides, wineries and cultural interpretative experiences and are located in every corner of the province. Each member is an aboriginal-owned business that guarantees cultural authenticity as part of its attraction. More information about the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia is available online.