Tuesday,  March 21, 2023  12:08 am

WestJet promises to help grow Alberta's Indigenous tourism industry

  • Air
  •   12-07-2022  6:42 am
  •   Pax Global Media

WestJet promises to help grow Alberta's Indigenous tourism industry
Indigenous performers present at The Brownstone in Calgary, Alberta on Monday (Dec. 5) at WestJet's 2023 summer launch. (Pax Global Media)
Pax Global Media

WestJet on Tuesday (Dec. 6) announced an agreement with Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) to bolster support for Indigenous travel and tourism businesses and create employment opportunities for Indigenous Canadians as the airline grows its global presence.  

The announcement was commemorated by an official signing of a memorandum of understanding at ITA's annual Gathering, which welcomed 300 travel and tourism partners and government representatives on Treaty 6, Métis Region 4, in Edmonton Alberta.

"We are grateful to build upon our meaningful partnership and continued collaboration with ITA as we work together to foster important opportunities for Indigenous travel and tourism businesses and entrepreneurs right here in our home province," said Angela Avery, WestJet Group's executive vice-president and chief people, corporate and sustainability officer. 

READ MORE: On Location - WestJet’s “ambition to showcase Canada” via Japan routes, Indigenous tourism

"As Alberta's home carrier, we provide service to seven communities across the province and have built our global hub in Calgary, which benefits all of Western Canada. Indigenous tourism and the history, stories and culture that accompany it, are essential to growing Alberta's visitor economy and provide meaningful opportunities to advance economic and cultural reconciliation."   

From left: Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta; Andy Gibbons, WestJet, VP, External Affairs. (WestJet)

Expanded Dreamliner schedule 

The agreement with ITA follows the unveiling of WestJet's 787 Dreamliner summer schedule out of Calgary, which includes direct, non-stop service to Tokyo, Japan, as well as an expansion of the airline's European service with new routes to and from Scotland and Spain

WestJet held an event on Monday (Dec. 5) to launch its new direct service from Calgary to Tokyo, Japan, starting in April 2023. (Pax Global Media)

"Our expansive international network out of Calgary will provide ample opportunity to showcase a diverse array of Alberta-based Indigenous travel and tourism businesses. Indigenous tourism is an integral sector of Alberta's economy that uniquely positions our province as a world-class tourism destination for international visitors," said Avery.    

READ MORE: WestJet to launch Tokyo, Barcelona, Edinburgh flights from Calgary in 2023

Shae Bird, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, said the agreement with WestJet is an "opportunity to further work together to ensure that WestJet travellers and team members are not only made aware of the different Indigenous cultures found across Alberta, but are also celebrating them." 

"Over the last several years, WestJet has shown tremendous support of the Canadian Indigenous tourism industry and we hope that other airlines follow their example in creating these partnerships to further grow the industry together," Bird stated. 

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