On November 23, the Hospitality Management programs hosted an exciting event with guest speaker, Kevin Eshkawkogan, President & CEO, Indigenous Tourism Ontario. Over 85 students from various programs in the Longo Faculty of Business attended this informative and virtual event.
This event was led by Kristy Adams, Program Coordinator, Hospitality – Hotel & Restaurant Operations Management (H-HROM), and Ron Caughlin, Acting Program Coordinator, Hospitality & Tourism Operations Management (HTOM), and supported by Jessica Estrela, Program Support Officer. Kevin addressed a very relevant and timely discussion on the path to growing Indigenous Tourism in Ontario. He focused on how Indigenous Tourism in Ontario is weathering the storm due to the global pandemic, what the plans are moving forward, and brought meaningful attention to the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation.
The event began with a welcome from Senior Dean, Alvina Cassiani. Acting Manager, Indigenous Education, and Engagement, Quazance Boissoneau presented the Land Acknowledgement and brought her own real-life engaging story and tourism experiences with the Ojibwa Park in Garden River to the event. Kevin had a number of poll questions for attendees throughout the event, which encouraged reflection and insightful questions about Indigenous Tourism and the broader tourism economy. He shared an incredible video that showcased Indigenous Tourism products and services, and his perspective on the recent National Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada.
Kevin also introduced some innovative marketing tactics being used to bring the Indigenous cultural tourism experience to life during the pandemic. This included launching virtual reality and augmented reality to a number of Indigenous tourism experiences and attractions across the province. This included 3D Google glasses to bring the travel experiences to life. A very authentic discussion followed with questions from graduate certificate student, Tania Medrano, and diploma students, Alex Morgan and Grace Caballe.
It was a tremendous event that completely engaged our students with real-life issues that touch our Indigenous tourism communities and experiences. Kevin was able to broaden our students’ horizons to see the world from the eyes of Indigenous tourism leaders in the Ontario tourism category.