2012 World Indigenous Tourism Forum

Lucerne, Switzerland – October 12, 2012

Location: Auditorium, Hochschule Luzerne-Business, Zentralstrasse 9, Lucerne

“Partnering with Indigenous People” – Program Outline

The agenda for this inaugural, all-day event is based on the theme of ‘Partnering with Indigenous Peoples. With the help of industry experts and aboriginal leaders from around the world, the event promises to inspire, educate, and above all explore how to co-create meaningful tourism experiences in partnership with indigenous communities.


8:00 – 9:00 Event Registration & Morning Coffee/TeaMeet aboriginal leaders, industry experts and fellow participants before the main event begins.
9:00 – 9:15 Opening Prayer & WelcomeWords of welcome from our host, the Institute of Tourism in Lucerne, as well as from our strategic partner, the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Meet WINTA leaders.
9:15 – 10:30 Session 1: Round-Table IntroductionsThe strength of Indigenous Tourism comes from the diversity of people and organizations. We begin the forum with a round-table introduction of attendees. We wish to know one another and develop the mutually beneficial relationships that will lead us to adopt common purposes.
10:30 – 10:50 Mid-morning BreakA short break to stretch your legs and exchange business cards with like-minded peers.
11:00 – 11:10 OrientationWe are planning for a highly interactive and engaging program that aims to draw upon the experiences of all participants. We wish to ensure that everyone participates in the dialogue.
11:10 -12:00 Session 2: Indigenous Values and Responsible Tourism DevelopmentIndigenous leaders and industry experts will assist in defining authentic Indigenous Tourism, and how working with Indigenous peoples can enhance the tourism experience for travellers, tour operators, destinations, and local communities, while improving the natural environment.
12:00 LunchJoin us for a complimentary light lunch and another opportunity to network with the people and organizations that may benefit you and your specific project(s).
12:15 -12:50 Keynote Presentation: Working with Indigenous PeoplesExplore real-world examples of responsible Indigenous tourism development from around the globe – meet the people involved, hear their stories, and make a connection.
13:00 – 13:50 Session 3: The Business of Indigenous Tourism – Global OpportunitiesExperienced tour developers and Indigenous operators will delve deeper into some of the challenges and opportunities of developing successful Indigenous tourism ventures.
14:00 – 14:50 Session 4: Cultural Tourism – The Paradox of Authenticity On-DemandThis session will challenge common perceptions of who decides what is and what isn’t “authentic” Indigenous culture. How do modern Indigenous communities offer traditional cultural experiences? Can authentic culture be staged effectively?
15:00 – 15:50 Session 5: “Social Knowledge” and Building an International CommunityA guided exploration into the powerful tools and spaces made available through the social web that can be used to inform, educate, and inspire about Indigenous tourism.
16:00-16:30 Closing Thoughts & Prayer from WINTAThe 2012 World Indigenous Tourism Forum is a stepping stone. See you at the 2013 Summit in Namibia where we will share success stories.

Urs Wagenseail

Urs Wagenseil, Divisional Head of the Institute for Tourism, Hochschule Luzern – Wirtschaft

Urs Wagenseil – Conference Host

The 2012 World Indigenous Tourism Conference will be hosted by the Institute of Tourism at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The Institute for Tourism (ITW) is one of five institutes in the Hochschule Luzern – Wirtschaft School of Business, which is recognized as a Swiss centre of excellence for advanced-level business administration. The ITW is engaged in applied research and consulting in the areas of destination management, marketing, events, adventure worlds, leisure and tourism traffic, e-tourism, and mobility management.




Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle, Adventure Travel Trade Association

Chris Doyle, Adventure Travel Trade Association

Networking, cooperative marketing and collaboration serve as the driving forces behind the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) Association Partnership Program, of which WINTA became a member earlier this year. Chris Doyle and the ATTA have been active in supporting WINTA’s aspirations to share traditional experiences and universal indigenous values to help address the need for balance and harmony between different peoples and between people and environment.



Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman, President, Native Tourism Alliance – Leadership Council, WINTA

Ben Sherman – Program Host

Ben Sherman 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., a Colorado company specializing in Indian business development, tourism and native arts projects. The company organized and conducted tours in various regions of the United States, showcasing Native peoples, cultures and lands.

Ben has been a national leader in the development of American Indian tourism efforts in the United States. He has organized and 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 World Indigenous Tourism Alliance.

Currently, Ben is focusing efforts on building a strong and effective World Indigenous Tourism Alliance by working with Indigenous groups and representatives from around the globe.



Neville Poelina, Chairman, Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council – Leadership Council, WINTA

Neville Poelina

Neville is a Nyikina man from the Kimberley. He is presently Chairperson of WAITOC and a member of the Tourism Western Australia board of commissioners. Neville was born in Derby WA and is the proud father of five children. He has lived in the Kimberley all his life and holds a wealth of knowledge of the region. He has traditional ties throughout the Kimberley and Aboriginal culture and society is his life. Starting off selling bait and fishing trips to Broome’s visitors at 6 years of age, Neville has been involved in tourism all of his life. He has been operating his own business Uptuyu Adventures since 2002.

Neville was called back to his traditional lands to establish the Oongkalkada Wilderness Camp and Indigenous Training Centre where he now bases his business operations. Neville is passionate about sharing cultural insights in the spectacular ever changing Kimberley. His diverse employment background is based around positions of responsibility in the areas of pearling, diving and training and more recently as a tourism and Indigenous culture consultant.

His latest endeavor is to see WAITOC champion a national Indigenous tourism representative body and an international Indigenous tourism alliance.



Lennart Pittja, VisitSápmi – Leadership Council, WINTA

Lennart Pittja

Lennart Pittja 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 “Vägvisaren – Pathfinder Lapland”, a small family company that works close with nature and is proud of it’s origin and history. Lennart is passionate about spreading the knowledge about traditional Sámi culture, and also how to enjoy being close to animals and nature. He believes that good sustainable tourism is a great way to spread knowledge about Sápmi, to preserve traditional knowledge, and to create awareness about Sámi culture and needs.

Lennart is currently serving 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). The project is spearheaded by the Swedish Reindeer Herders Association (Svenska Samernas Riksförbund), and is focused on creating and promoting a Sápmi brand that is recognizable as an authentic quality indigenous experience – the Sápmi experience.



Keith Henry, CEO, Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia – Leadership Council, WINTA

Keith Henry

Keith Henry 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 started his own consulting company in October 2008 and is the President and CEO of KCD Consulting Incorporated that specializes in human resource development, project delivery, strategic planning, negotiations, and leadership development. Keith works with several clients including the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, Treaty 8 Tribal Association, Prophet River First Nations, Alexis Creek Indian Band, Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, and several others.

For the past five years, Keith has also held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). His current work is focused on supporting the continued implementation of the Aboriginal Tourism Cultural Blueprint Strategy. The strategy has been designed to increase education and awareness, product development, and marketing for Aboriginal tourism operators and communities throughout British Columbia.


Anna Pollock, Founder, Conscious Travel

Anna Pollock

Anna Pollock has over 35 years’ experience as a consultant, strategist, speaker, and change agent. 

Described as an irrepressibly curious “renaissance woman”, her strength derives from an ability to dig beneath surface trends to find and make sense of the real drivers of change combined with a creative capacity to develop innovative responses.

She enjoys dual Canadian and British citizenship having worked in each country for over 15 years and is now a much sought after speaker internationally, focusing on the deep changes affecting tourism and community development. Most recently, Anna has been focused on developing the concept of ‘Conscious Travel’ a movement that integrates and enhances the creative thinking emerging from a diverse range of interests within the tourism industry. Conscious Travel is a movement and an e-learning leadership program designed to develop fully conscious change agents within the tourism community, drawing out key elements from ecotourism, responsible tourism, adventure travel, tourism philanthropy, slow tourism, tourism 2.0, green travel, ethical tourism, community-based tourism, and indigenous tourism.


Dan Kreuger, PuddleJump Destination Management & Consulting

Daniel Kreuger

Dan Kreuger began his career in destination development as a tourist, making footprints (and bicycle tracks) in 35+ countries around the globe. He went on to study medicinal plants (ethnopharmacology) at university, earning degrees in plant biology and cultural anthropology. However, eager to leave his Petri dishes behind, Dan opted to become a guide on the west coast of British Columbia – climbing mountains, paddling fjords, and otherwise exploring outside with adventurous clients from around the world.

Dan’s wanderings eventually led him to the isolated arctic communities of northern Canada. He worked with Inuit Elders to help them record their traditional knowledge of qayaq (kayak) construction, and then ‘package’ it into a resource for local high school teachers. This project was a turning point for Dan as he became more and more involved with the many challenges of developing and delivering content in a cross-cultural environment, as well as the importance of finding ways to bridge the divide between different cultural generations. Dan combined his eclectic skills and interests under the umbrella of destination management, and considers tourism as a promising vehicle for small communities to create viable economic activities which value, respect, and help preserve traditional knowledge and cultures.

Employing a “lead from behind” approach to his work, Dan is a strong advocate of helping others to help themselves.



Sem Shikongo, Director of Tourism, Ministry of Environment and Tourism – Namibia

Special Guests – Sem Shikongo and the Doro Nawas Choir

Sem Shikongo is Namibia’s Director for Tourism in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. His responsibilities are to provide vision and strategic leadership to the Namibian tourism sector, with a mission to develop a mature, sustainable, and responsible tourism industry contributing significantly to the economic development of Namibia and the quality of life of all her people, primarily through job creation and economic growth. Namibia is one of few countries in the world where conservation and environmental management are mandated in the Constitution, and their approach to conservation is holistic and inclusive, both in terms of maintaining ecological integrity and the rights of communities to benefit from their natural resources.

A unique model of conservancies and community-based natural resource management is enabling the growth of a new rural economy, and the tourism industry has played a significant role in its success. Today there are over 40 joint-venture lodges and campsites emerging or operating in communal conservancies across Namibia, providing jobs, training, income to conservancy members and a stake in the future.

The Doro Nawas Wilderness Choir

Also from Namibia we are very pleased to welcome the Doro Nawas Choir. These talented individuals have repeatedly placed in the top rankings as one of the best choirs in the country. Their high energy song and dance routines will surely have the audience sitting on the edge of their seats as the sounds of Namibia wash over them.

Namibia was selected to host the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) set for 26-31 October in Swakopmund and Windhoek. This will be the first time the Summit will be hosted on the African continent.