16 April 2014, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. — The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) has recognised the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia for its Leadership in Indigenous Tourism Organisational Development, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Principles of the Larrakia Declaration.
The recognition ceremony took place at the 2014 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference held in Whistler British Columbia, where WINTA addressed the conference on the implications of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Larrakia Declaration for the tourism industry.
Mr Ben Sherman WINTA Leadership Council said â€œthe Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia has set a high standard for reference by other Indigenous tourism organisations seeking to facilitate the empowerment of Indigenous peoples through tourismâ€.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 sets minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world and specifies the obligations of states to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples. While there was initial hesitation by some countries to support the Declaration in 2007, the vast majority of United Nations Member States now support the Declaration, and none oppose it.
Mr Sherman said â€œthe obligation of United Nations member states to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples has always been the central focus, however it is now reassuring to see that the business sector also acknowledges that it has an obligation to respect the rights of Indigenous peoplesâ€.
Mr Shermanâ€™s comment follows the promulgation of the Larrakia Declaration by the 1st Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference 2012 in Darwin Australia and the subsequent development of The Business Reference Guide: UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2013 by the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact was launched in 2000 and has become the largest corporate responsibility initiative in the world with over 10,000 signatories based in 140 countries.
Mr Sherman said â€œthe Larrakia Declaration provides a partnership framework for governments, business and Indigenous institutions to respect and support the rights of Indigenous peoples through tourism. The organisational development leadership shown by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia has resulted in a very effective mechanism to enable both government and business to engage positively with and empower Indigenous tourism in British Columbiaâ€.