Coast Salish Territories / Vancouver, BC (October 29, 2020): Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) and Destination BC are pleased to announce Francine Douglas as the Indigenous Specialist for the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains (VCM) region. Francine will collaborate with Indigenous communities and industry partners to support experience and destination development.
A member of the Stó:lō (Sts’ailes) and Tsimpshian (Metlakatla) First Nations, Francine holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and anthropology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and was valedictorian of the UBC Sauder School of Business Aboriginal Business Management Program. She has more than a decade of business and tourism experience, including coordinating various tourism, communications and event programs in Stó:lō territory. She also co-owns Stó:lō Seafood Company, a salmon processing facility near Harrison Bay. Above all, Francine values the cultural insights she has learned from her family, including knowing who you are and where you came from.
As VCM Indigenous Specialist, Francine will apply her expertise and cultural learnings towards advancing Indigenous tourism, primarily by providing responsive and respectful regionally specific programs, services and projects. She will also grow awareness about the value of Indigenous cultural tourism among industry partners and Indigenous communities, policymakers and organizations, subsequently helping to cultivate new market demand in VCM and beyond. Destination development is a key component of the role, with an overarching goal of attracting visitors by offering authentic and compelling experiences.
“We are pleased to welcome Francine to the ITBC team as Vancouver, Coast and Mountains Indigenous Specialist,” says Brenda Baptise, ITBC Board Chair. “The position is tasked with a multitude of responsibilities, from making recommendations for improving process and strategy planning to acquiring content for marketing and communications. Given Francine’s local business experience and deep-rooted ties to the Indigenous community, we are confident she will meet and exceed expectations.”
“We are excited to see Francine step into this new role focused on advancing Indigenous tourism in the region,” says Peter Harrison, Destination BC’s Director of Industry Partnerships & Visitor Services. “Her ingrained knowledge and experience, and vast expertise, will strengthen and support important work with Indigenous communities and industry partners. We look forward to continuing to build on our strong 20 year partnership with ITBC and working with Francine to develop compelling and sustainable Indigenous tourism experiences throughout the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains tourism region.”
The Regional Indigenous Tourism Specialist program spans VCM, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Northern BC, Vancouver Island and Thompson Okanagan, with each specialist connecting their diverse community to tourism development opportunities based on current regional strategies.
About Indigenous Tourism BC
Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is a non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and cooperative marketing programs, ITBC is a resource for Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities in BC who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. ITBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help BC’s Indigenous tourism businesses offer quality experiences and actively promote these experiences to visitors and local residents. Learn more about Indigenous Tourism BC.
About Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Tourism Region
Managed under Destination BC, the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region expands outwards from Metro Vancouver along three main arteries: the Sunshine Coast, the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, as well as the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon, which are both anchored by the Fraser River. It connects to the Gold Rush Trail up the Fraser Canyon and to the Highway 3 Corridor through Hope and Manning Park. The region is home to the internationally-renowned destinations of Vancouver and Whistler; rich agricultural areas like the Fraser Valley and Pemberton; and small villages, towns and rural areas, such as the Bridge River Valley, Bowen Island, and Desolation Sound. Learn more about Vancouver, Coast & Mountains.
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