Bringing Indigenous Wisdom, Values and Authentic Experiences to the World

The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) was founded to create and support an international network of indigenous individuals and groups dedicated to tourism development. WINTA is committed to cooperatively developing and implementing strategies for the advancement of indigenous tourism. The organization works within the tourism industry in ways that promote partnerships and heightened respect for indigenous wisdom, values and knowledge.

The creation of WINTA is the result of years of discussions by Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism leaders who share the same belief that a tourism industry based on universal Indigenous values provides the opportunity for improved global social, environmental and economic outcomes, not just for Indigenous peoples, but for all peoples.


The purpose of WINTA is to provide a forum for Indigenous peoples seeking to draw on and share their traditional experiences and universal Indigenous values, to address the need for balance and harmony both between different peoples and between people and environment.


The objectives of WINTA are to provide a global network which:

  • Facilitates – The sharing of information and understanding between Indigenous peoples on the social, environmental and economic opportunities and issues arising from tourism developments globally;
  • Advocates – In support of Indigenous peoples wishing to develop responses to issues and opportunities arising from existing and proposed tourism developments and trends of global interest;
  • Networks – To enable Indigenous tourism leaders to participate in and contribute to international tourism forums


  • Create and support an international network of indigenous individuals and groups to cooperatively develop and implement strategies for the advancement of indigenous tourism.
  • Work cooperatively within the tourism industry in ways that promote partnerships and heightened respect for indigenous beliefs and practices.

2016-17 Annual Report

A copy of the WINTA 2017-2018 Annual Report can be downloaded here [PDF]

WINTA Leadership

The Leadership Council was formed by the Founding Members to guide the establishment and operation of WINTA. The six members of the current Leadership Council include:

Ben Sherman
WINTA Chairperson

Ben is a member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Nation, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. He is the president of Medicine Root, Inc., which specializes in Indian business development, tourism and native arts projects. Ben has been a national leader in American Indian tourism development and has presided over numerous American Indian tourism development conferences, workshops and trade shows. Ben is also a founding member of the Native Tourism Alliance, Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel, First Peoples Fund, American Indian/Alaska Native Tourism Association and the WINTA Leadership Council.

Keith Henry
Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada

Keith is a Métis person born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He has worked extensively with the Métis Nation and several Aboriginal communities, both in Saskatchewan and in British Columbia, since graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995. Keith is the President and CEO of KCD Consulting Incorporated, a company that specializes in Aboriginal organizational development and works with a number of other Aboriginal organisations. He is a foundation member of the WINTA Leadership Council.

John Barrett
Kapiti Island Tours, New Zealand

John has Maori tribal affiliations to Ngatitoa Rangatira, Te Ati Awa and Ngati Raukawa. He is the managing director and co-owner of Kapiti Island Nature Tours and Kapiti Nature Lodge on one of New Zealand’s largest natural treasures Kapiti Island. John has previously served as Chairman of NZ Maori Tourism Council, as a Board member of Tourism NZ and a foundation member of the WINTA Leadership Council. He remains active in Maori higher education, tribal and community development roles.

Tahn Donovan
WAITOC, Australia

Tahn is a Wardandi Yok from Busselton and has a deep understanding of the Western Australian biodiversity, values, and the diversity of it’s landscapes, people and experiences. Tahn’s career started in the hospitality industry at age 12 in Busselton, helping out at wedding and catering events. Since then she has greatly diversified her skills and experiences through employment in the farming, transport, diversity reviews and inclusion plans, disability employment, environmental sustainability, and hospitality/tourism industries. Project and management roles in employment and training have encouraged Tahn’s interest in developing future leaders, and she is currently involved in team management, empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to reach their career aspirations. Tahn is on the Board of Directors for the Western Australia Indigenous Tourism Council.

Lennart Pittja
Visit Sapmi, Sweden

Lennart is an indigenous Sámi from the northern reaches of Sweden, and has been involved in promoting his culture through tourism for over 15 years. He is the founder of VägvisarenPathfinder Lapland, a family-owned company that works closely with nature and is proud of its origin and history. Lennart also served as the project manager for VisitSápmi, an organization that promotes sustainable travel through the Sápmi region (commonly known as Lapland – the Scandinavian regions of Norway, Finland, and Sweden). Lennart is a foundation member of the WINTA Leadership Council.

Yankila Sherpa
Snow Leopard Trek, Nepal

Yankila was born and raised in Olangchung Gola, a village in the Taplejung District in Eastern Nepal. She has received several national and international awards for her outstanding contribution in the field of mountain tourism and women empowerment, including the WWF Abraham Conservation Award for her contributions to the development of sustainable ecotourism in the Himalayas. Yankila is the Vice President of Trans Himalayan Environment and Livelihood Programme (T-help), Past President of Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs of Nepal (FWEAN), and Past President of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN). She is currently an advisor for ‘Mountain Spirit’ and the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), as well as the managing director of the Snow Leopard Trek adventure company.

WINTA Operations

Johnny Edmonds is the Director for the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA). He is also a traditional land owner in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Owner/Director of a NZ-based consulting company that specializes in Indigenous economic development. Johnny has held executive management positions for various Indigenous non-profit organisations for the past 17 years in NZ and Australia. These include the Waitangi National Trust, Taitokerau Regional Maori Tourism Organisation, NZ Maori Tourism Council and the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council. He has also served on various tourism industry Boards in NZ and Australia. Johnny has held statutory and executive management positions in the NZ government, including National Commissioner of Crown Lands with the national responsibility for managing the Crown’s land interests.