International Institute for Peace through Tourism

3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism

Pattaya, Thailand - October 2 - 5, 2005


Indigenous Tourism Forum - Sunday, October 2, 2005


Facilitators: Judy Karwacki
Small Planet Consulting
North Vancouver, Canada
Beverley O’Neil
O’Neil Marketing & Consulting
Vancouver, Canada


The Indigenous Tourism Forum participants developed recommendations for IIPT to take forward to appropriate organizations and agencies (e.g., United Nations, World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council, Pacific Asia Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents).

Guiding Principles

Indigenous tourism must be conducted according to the following Guiding Principles:

  1. Tourism must provide economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits for host communities while having minimal impacts on these sustainability factors.
  2. Poverty alleviation must be a primary goal of Indigenous tourism development.
  3. Tourism development must be community approved and controlled.
  4. Tourism must be co-managed by government and host communities.
  5. There must be true and demonstrated respect and recognition of Indigenous cultures by the tourism industry.
  6. Development of Indigenous tourism must be participatory, with appropriate roles played by government, NGOs and community based organizations, host communities and the tourism industry.
  7. Tourism needs to be complementary to the local and Indigenous economy.


In developing Indigenous tourism, the coordinated involvement of several groups is needed.



·         Legislation and protection

·         Ensuring barrier removal and recognition of Indigenous cultures

·         Coordinating participation of government authorities and other quasi government players

NGOs / Community based organizations

·         Facilitating development and transition to community control (awareness, education, expertise, local input, initial development, etc.)

Indigenous people and communities

·         Defining objectives of tourism and benefits sought

·         Product development – culturally appropriate and respectful

·         Role modeling

·         Ambassador to other Indigenous tourism

Tourism authorities / DMOs/ industry

·         Product development

·         Marketing to tourists



The following are recommendations on how Indigenous tourism can be forwarded on both the international and local level in a manner that is culturally respectful and truthful to the Indigenous people and sustainable.


1)      Community determination – Indigenous people need to lead, control, and welcome tourism into their host community.  Host communities must decide what will be shared, when it will be shared and how it will be shared.  The starting point can begin with facilitated discussion at the community level.

a)      Empowering communities – Tourism development must occur in such a manner that it allows and enables Indigenous communities to make decisions. Awareness programs and information needs to be provided, and communities educated on the benefits and drawbacks of tourism.  Strategies must be developed so that tourism is offered in a manner that the host community decides is appropriate.

b)      Defining community – The host community must decide what constitutes the “community” in a particular tourism context.  It may be based on a geographic unit or on a group engaged in a particular activity, such as fishers or farmers.

2)      Community ownership – Tourism that promotes Indigenous cultures must encompass local ownership.  Benefits produced (especially economic and employment) from Indigenous tourism should minimize leakage to maximize local benefits and sustainability.  Community ownership will enable the benefits to be directed towards furthering the developmental needs of that community.

3)      Co-management – Tourism development requires partnership between the Indigenous people and the government of the land.  Government contributes technical knowledge, standards, resources and coordination while Indigenous communities contribute local knowledge, values, principles, history and cultural integrity.

4)      Private Public Partnerships (P3) – Facilitation of Private and Public Partnerships (P3) with Indigenous tourism host communities is needed for sustainability.  Government and private partners bring needed resources, such as financial and technical knowledge, that Indigenous communities typically do not possess.  These partnerships are needed to create tourism experiences that meet the demands and expectations of the tourism industry without compromising the sustainability of host communities.

5)      Tourism frameworks – At the start of Indigenous tourism development, encompassing frameworks should be created that define objectives and benefits, and which identify potential impacts and systems for monitoring and mitigating impacts.  These frameworks will address cultural, economic, environmental and social sustainability aspects.

6)      Skill development – The capacity of Indigenous people must be developed so host communities can fully participate in tourism.  The full range of skill development is required, including product development, hospitality, guiding and marketing.

7)      Time and resources – There must be adequate time and resources available to Indigenous people to understand, develop and participate in the industry.  Programs that have three-year duration are too short to enable Indigenous communities to accept tourism, develop skills, and implement initiatives where benefits resulting from tourism can be produced or measured.

8)      Marketing – There needs to be coordination of marketing in two frames: providing appropriate conduct information to visitors and promoting the tourism product.

9)      International tourism commitment – The worldwide tourism industry needs commit to responsible Indigenous tourism that respects the Indigenous culture and does not promote Indigenous tourism that is not approved by those that possess the culture (i.e., the Indigenous people / community).

10)  Mechanisms – Mechanisms must be developed to allow Indigenous people and communities to network and to share lessons learned and best practices.  Indigenous tourism can be forwarded more rapidly through facilitating inter-community learning.