Indigenous Tourism Alberta and WestJet sign three-year strategic partnership agreement
CALGARY, AB, Dec. 6, 2022 /CNW/ - WestJet today, announced an agreement with Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) to bolster support for Indigenous travel and tourism businesses and create meaningful 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 in the presence of more than 300 travel and tourism partners and government representatives on Treaty 6, Métis Region 4, 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 Executive Vice-President and Chief People, Corporate & Sustainability Officer. "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."
The partnership agreement with ITA immediately follows the unveiling of WestJet's 787 Dreamliner summer schedule (link) out of Calgary, which includes direct, non-stop service to Tokyo, Japan and a broad expansion of the airline's European service, with new direct routes to and from Scotland and Spain. As Alberta grows its international presence, the airline and ITA are committed to sourcing employment opportunities for indigenous Canadians to accommodate for increased inbound tourism.
"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," continued Avery.
"Today's 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," says Shae Bird, Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Tourism Alberta. "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."
In 26 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 110 destinations in 24 countries.
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Recent recognition includes:
2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada)
About Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Driven by the Indigenous Tourism Alberta Strategy 2020-2024, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) encourages and promotes authentic Indigenous tourism that showcases the unique and immersive experiences offered by its members throughout Alberta. This strategy is industry-driven, industry-lead and directed by Indigenous People. Through a unified industry voice, Indigenous Tourism Alberta focuses on creating and nurturing partnerships between associations, organizations, governments and industry leaders from across Alberta to support the stability and growth of Indigenous tourism. Further to this, ITA's goal is to create a resilient Indigenous tourism industry that can weather future economic instability while also enhancing economic viability and further supporting Indigenous people throughout the province by sharing stories, culture and experiences with a global audience. To learn more, visit www.indigenoustourismalberta.ca. Indigenous Tourism Alberta Media Kit here.
SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership
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