New Indigenous owned travel agency launches in Manitoba

An Indigenous-owned travel agency based in Manitoba is partnering with the Treaty 1 development corporation to launch a national service.

Indigeno Travel is North America’s first national full-service Indigenous-owned travel and tourism agency.

The Treaty One development corporation is now a part of the agency – and Chief Dennis Meeches said he’s excited for what’s to come.

“We’re moving into a lot of different industries and just with our economic development, our Indigenomics and more so we’re going to see that roll out in the coming years, which is a good thing because we have a very large Indigenous population and we need to create those opportunities for our young people and the generations to come so we’re really establishing a foundation, an economic foundation for our people,” he told APTN News.

Started in 2015 by Chris Maxfield and Hollow Water First Nation member Darrell Phillips, in partnership with Great Canadian Travel, and Continental Travel Group, Indigeno Travel creates travel and tourism career opportunities and revenue sources for Indigenous people across Canada and promotes Indigenous tourism experiences around the world.

The company also focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 92 for reconciliation through business and commerce.

“And it was making connections, was what we ended up with. Making connections and you know reconciliation and call 92 is exactly that. Creating jobs for Indigenous people and having Indigenous and non-Indigenous people interacting on a daily basis,” said Maxfield.

In 2017, Phillips was diagnosed with a terminal illness and so Maxfield, along with Phillips surviving spouse Charlene, pledged to continue on their shared dream they started together.

“We want every Canadian to know, Indigeno is for non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people. No matter who you are or where you’re going, Indigeno is for all of us,” said Charlene Phillips, Darrell’s surviving spouse, part-owner, and board member.

Meeches added he hopes the partnership can bring tourism to Indigenous people in Manitoba and across the country.

“I think with the travel industry for years Indigenous people weren’t really ingrained in the travel industry but we do know there’s a, for example within the city itself there’s 30 per cent of hotel occupancy is Indigenous people. But this is not only for Indigenous people it’s for all people right so we hope to bring tourism here in Manitoba and across the country,” he said.

Indigeno Travel is also connected with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, which can help facilitate Indigenous tourism experiences to over 7,000 travel agencies worldwide.

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