Indigenous Tourism Ontario:  Focusing On Empowering Indigenous Tourism 

Small Business Canada

Indigenous Tourism Ontario is the province’s first and only Indigenous tourism organization, focusing on bringing together communities, Indigenous groups, and industry leaders to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.

Authentic Indigenous Culture

Ontario is home to many individuals with unique knowledge, skills, access, and a passion for creating engaging cultural experiences to share with visitors. They are storytellers, guides, artists, singers, dancers, woodcarvers, artisans, cooks, and more.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario provides access to invaluable marketing, sales, and business development programs that build the capacity to produce high-quality tourism products and services. 

They are well-aligned and positioned to support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in all stages of business development. Members can participate in ITO marketing, sales, and business development programs.

ITO’s programs aim to support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in developing the capacity to provide high-quality products and services. They believe their success is guided by the positive impact their people have on the environment and the economy. 

ITO provides a range of resources, including a library of reports, plans, and other information, which organizations can utilize to help build Ontario’s Indigenous tourism industry.

Championing In Tourism

Kevin is an Anishnabek and a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. He has been a key player in the development of Indigenous cultural tourism in Ontario since 2003. 

Kevin Eshkawkogan is a visionary, a trailblazer, and the founder of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Ontario (ITO). He goes the extra mile to help businesses and organizations in any way he can. 

Kevin was a key player in developing and expanding the Great Spirit Circle Trail (GSCT) on Manitoulin Island, one of Canada’s most renowned Indigenous tourism organizations that offer culturally authentic Indigenous experiences to visitors while also providing marketing support to Indigenous operators.

For over 15 years, he took on the leadership of GSCT and has mentored countless individuals throughout Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, and beyond.

Kevin is a mentor and visionary who works closely with his community to ensure sustainable and organic growth within the Indigenous tourism industry. He works relentlessly to bring together Indigenous tourism providers, expand market reach, and provide meaningful job opportunities in the region.

In 2015, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario honored Kevin as Tourism Champion of the Year. He has also been honored for his achievements in the industry by a number of media publications.

Kevin is a member of several boards, including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. He also contributed to the founding of ITO, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Northeastern Ontario Tourism, Destination Northern Ontario, the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre, and numerous other tourism organizations and businesses.

Kevin Eshkawkogan started his first corporation when he was 19 and has been involved in over 50 different corporations over the last 25 years.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario is the province’s first and only dedicated Indigenous tourism organization that offers its members who are ready to host visitors and are at least 51% Indigenous-owned the option of being listed on ITOs and partner websites. In addition, they also get to be featured on the Ontario Authentic Indigenous Moments website if they meet the criteria.

Through tourism, product development, and marketing authentic Indigenous experiences, ITO establishes a platform for Indigenous cultural expression and preservation. For more information about their work and services, visit the website at 

Organizations that empower Indigenous communities need to be recognized more in society. To read more about these enterprises, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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