Announcing Indigeno Travel, Canada’s first Indigenous-owned nationwide full-service travel agency
Indigeno expands its Indigenous ownership:
Treaty One Development Corporation.
WINNIPEG, MB March 30, 2022 – Indigeno Travel, North America’s first national full-service Indigenous-owned travel and tourism agency is pleased to announce its formal launch and the addition of its latest equity partner, Treaty One Development Corporation. Indigeno Travel creates travel and tourism career opportunities and revenue sources for Indigenous people across Canada, facilitating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #92 for reconciliation through business and commerce. It builds unique travel and tourism experiences for its corporate and leisure clients, offers online booking platforms, and promotes Indigenous tourism experiences. Indigeno is headquartered in Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, with associate offices in Brockville ON and Edmonton.
Indigeno Travel was started by Darrell Phillips of Hollow Water First Nation and Chris Maxfield from Winnipeg. In 2017 Darrell, his wife and daughters met with Chris to tell him about Darrell’s terminal illness and asked Chris to carry on their shared dream.
“Our Indigenous community has embraced the idea of a major national Indigenous-owned travel agency serving non-Indigenous and Indigenous customers” says Chief Dennis Meeches of Long Plain First Nation, the lead spokesperson for the Treaty One Development Corporation (T1DC) and the Naawi Oodena Development, currently under development at the former Kapyong Barracks military site in Winnipeg. Meeches adds, “Travel is about to come back in a big way. Indigeno offers a choice for Canadians of goodwill towards Indigenous people. Travel agencies aren’t a thing of the past, as some believe, even when you book travel online, with us or anyone, you’re using a travel agency”.
“We want every Canadian to know; Indigeno is for non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people. No matter who you are or where you’re going, Indigeno is for all of us to use”, said Charlene Phillips, Darrell’s surviving spouse, part-owner, and board member. “The story of Darrell and Chris is one of Reconciliation; two long-time friends create a partnership with the goal to create Indigenous employment”.
Thanks to its partnership with two of Canada’s leading independent travel firms: Great Canadian Travel Group, for leisure travel, and Continental Travel Group, for corporate travel, Indigeno Travel operates at the scale and capacity of one of Canada’s largest full-service travel agencies.
Treaty One CEO, Whelan Sutherland follows up stating, “The choice becomes whether to send travel-related jobs and profits to other countries or to keep it closer to home, to benefit Indigenous people and Canada’s economy. For many, that’s probably going to be an easy decision”.
Indigeno now looks to expand its Indigenous ownership across the country and has garnered interest from Indigenous investors across Canada.
Indigeno has taken aim at adding to its corporate travel client base by approaching corporations, governments, universities, and colleges that support the Truth and Reconciliation Reports’ Calls to Action. “We want to acknowledge the many commitments we see across Canada from corporations and others that embrace the TRC’s Calls to Action. Indigeno makes it easy to follow through on those commitments” says Indigeno spokesperson, Jessica Dumas, the former chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the first Indigenous woman to hold that post, and President of Jessica Dumas Coaching & Training.
The President and CEO of Indigeno is a well-known name in travel. For over 30 years, Phil Sproul has been at the helm of some of Canada’s largest, most successful travel firms. “We welcome Treaty One as an equity partner in Indigeno. I hasten to add that it is thanks to the vision of the board of Tribal Councils Investment Group (TCIG) that we exist at all,” noting that TCIG was an early investor and believed in Indigeno’s vision. Sproul adds, “As a social and economic mission-based enterprise, Indigeno fits well with my personal philosophy of both building and giving back.”
“We invested in Indigeno from the start because we saw the incredible potential to benefit all of the seven Tribal Councils we represent in Manitoba,” says Heather Berthelette, CEO of the Tribal Councils Investment Group of Manitoba. “When we handed our corporate travel account over to Indigeno, we were even more impressed!”
Another early proponent of Indigeno was the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was industry-leading and outpaced Canadian tourism activity overall. “Despite the pandemic’s devastating impacts, ITAC is working hand in hand with Indigeno to ensure a path to recovery for the providers of these tourism experiences, and we are proud to do so with an Indigenous agency,” says Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC.
The ITAC connection enables Indigeno to curate world-class Indigenous tourism experiences through its network of 7,000+ travel agencies worldwide.
“Combined, with our partnership with Great Canadian and Continental, this will make Indigeno one of the most competitive travel agencies in Canada, with 42 employees, and plans for further expansion across the country,” says Chris Maxfield, Founder and VP Business Development.
About Indigeno Travel
Indigeno Travel Company is a business with a social mission: to provide industry-leading service in retail and corporate travel while sharing profits with its Indigenous partner-owners and the Indigenous community, creating rewarding careers for its Indigenous employees and helping the world beat a path to Canada’s hundreds of exciting Indigenous tourism destinations. Indigeno provides businesses, institutions, governments and individuals with valuable and rewarding opportunities to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92 for reconciliation through business and commerce. Headquartered in Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with offices in Edmonton and Hamilton, Indigeno is the first and only national, full-service majority Indigenous-owned travel and tourism company in North America, if not the world. Visit www.indigenotravel.com.
Chris Maxfield 204-226-5440 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Dennis Meeches 204-871-7676 email@example.com