Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays from the CES Team!

Thank you to all of our clients, partners and friends for a great year! Looking forward to what will come in the New Year!

We wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season!

From the CES Team!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What Makes a Good Tour Guide: The Art of Guiding

Peru Trekking Adventure - Salkantay Trail
I’ve had the privilege of being able to do a lot of travel in my life and have learned that nothing beats the knowledge of local guides. But what makes a good tour guide? What type of skills and training are required? And how do you make someone have an unforgettable experience?

I recently returned from leading a group of people to Peru and we had the most amazing tour guides for each of our experiences – this inspired me to write this blog. What made these guides stand out was first and foremost their passion for sharing their culture and history with all of us. This quality is not something you can learn in a training course. You have to have the desire to share information about your culture and to create excitement and understanding with your guests.

One of our guides that was with our group leading a 7 day trek to Machu Picchu set the tone by doing an introduction about the culture and the history of the region we were about to hike through in such an engaging way. His passion was evident. He spoke slowly with a lot of emotion making all of us instantly engaged in what he had to say.  During the tour he would find special places for us to gather to hear stories, and he allowed time for intimate ceremonies at significant sites during our trek. The trek itself and environment was amazing, but what made the journey special was our guides.  So that demonstrates that passion is a major quality in what makes a tour guide great.

If you are a tour guide it is essential to be able to tell engaging stories. You can just list facts about a place, but you will lose people’s attention span fast. Being a Tour Guide is all about being able to deliver a great story. We had another incredible guide in Peru that had an amazing ability to tell a great story. We were on a boat tour with about 1 hour to our next destination and he had all of us sitting in anticipation of what he had to say next. He was so interesting and incorporated historical facts with great storytelling. He made the 1 hour ride seem like no time at all.

Guided Tour of Machu Picchu

You also need to pay attention to your group’s behaviour and be able to judge the type of personalities and group dynamics.  In other words, you have to feel the vibe of the group and adapt accordingly. Guides will be asked all sorts of questions and will have to deal with a variety of different personalities. This will be a true test of character and your ability to adapt is critical.  Since we had a group of 10 people in our trek, we had varying personalities and levels of fitness so our guides did an amazing job managing our group’s dynamics.

Above I mentioned some of the qualities that make a good tour guide, but there of course is a lot of training required as well. It was evident that Peru had excellent training programs for their guides. They were professional, had incredible customer service skills, were highly trained on the environment, history and culture of the area, most were fluent in several languages, health & safety standards were at a high level, and they were trained in how to project their voice and share information in an engaging way. All of these skills take a lot of time and practice and even people that are naturally good at guiding still require proper training.

So to some all of this up, I’ve narrowed it down to 4 key elements to what makes a good tour guide:
  • Passion – You need to be passionate about what you are sharing with visitors
  • Become an Engaging Storyteller
  • Ability to Adapt
  • Training and Skill Development

If you or people in your community are interested in becoming a Tour Guide contact CES for information on how to get started.

T: 1-877-444-5550

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Free Webinar on Digital Storytelling & Cultural Preservation

Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES) is offering a Free Webinar on Digital Storytelling & Cultural Preservation! This Webinar is for Cultural Coordinators, Tourism Entrepreneurs, Community Leaders, Economic Development Officers and anyone interested in digital storytelling projects.

What you will learn:

·      Discover how you can preserve your culture for future generations through digital storytelling!
·      How to get Youth, Elders and everyone in between involved!
·      How to build interesting content and create your App/Website!
·      Continue to add new stories and content for generations to come!

When: October 26th at 12:00 pm EST

Where: At the comfort of your desk! – Details will be sent upon registration

To register please contact CES at 1-877-444-5550

Travel Trends for 2017

The travel industry is always shifting and changing based on current worldwide trends, the emergence of new markets, and different niche groups. As a business or someone that is involved in the tourism industry, it’s important to keep up with these new trends. Here is some insight with some of the growing trends and emerging niche markets for 2017.

Growing Market of Wellness-Minded Travellers

One of the newest trends to hit the travel industry is the growth of wellness travel.  This includes more than marketing just resorts and retreats, it involves promoting your destination to target the growing market of wellness-minded travellers.

Destination expert Roger Brooks, president of Peoria, AZ-based Roger Brooks International, says “health and wellness is now one of the top four brands that destinations are pursuing.”

Costa Rica Tourism is gearing up to focus its 2017 PR campaign to promote the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle which is guided by the core values of community, health and wellness.

Responsible Travel is on the Rise

After reviewing an article posted by responsibletravel.org, one of the growing demands is in Responsible Travel – which is tourism that maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social or environmental impacts, and helps people conserve fragile cultures and habitats or species.

Research studies continue to show that travellers prefer companies that instil eco-friendly practices in their operations. Travellers have a higher level of environmental and cultural awareness, meaning that they are more demanding and able to influence tourism providers to change their practices.  

Nature-Based Tourism Growth

I’ve noticed this new trend first hand by exploring Vancouver Island. There is a lot more younger people, a.k.a. Millenials, out in nature, hiking, and exploring some off the beaten track nature-based activities. I was in Port Renfrew, the other day, a community on Vancouver Island’s west coast with a population of only 120 people, and their local tourism industry grew this year by 700%! That is an incredible growth in tourist numbers and shows that people are searching for opportunities to get them up close and personal with nature.

Nature-based tourism accounts for about 20% of the total for international travel and continues to grow according to the UNWTO.

The Real Local Experience

Living like a Local has also become a growing trend. People are searching for more authentic, “real” experiences that allow them to connect with people and places. 

This trend fits perfectly with CES’s Authentic Indigenous Moments (AIM) Project – which is an indigenous platform that focuses on creating authentic community experiences between visitors and local guides.

A Growth in Niche Markets

The tourism industry is experiencing more segmented markets and new groups of consumers. The following are some of the top growing niche markets that relate to responsible travel:
·      Adventure Tourism
·      Agritourism
·      Culinary or Gastronomic Tourism
·      Orange Tourism – Focuses on Cultural, Economic and Social Development
·      Sharing Economy – peer-to-peer market
·      Wellness Travel

If you are interested in enhancing your current tourism project or turning your tourism idea into reality, contact info@cesclients.com for details on how to get started!

The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends and Statistics - http://www.responsibletravel.org/whatWeDo/The_Case_for_Responsible_Travel_2016_Final.pdf

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ecotourism Webinar July 13 at 12 Noon CST - Developing Unique Alternative Accommodations

FREE Webinar on Developing Unique Alternative Accommodations

Presenter: Join Amanda Huculak, Project Manager of Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES) and owner of Travel Roots, a socially responsible travel company, as she takes you on a journey to discover what makes accommodations unique and memorable. She'll provide insight from her own travel experiences as well as provide a variety of Best Practices from around the world.
What you will learn:

  • Discover Best Practices in unique accommodations throughout the world
  • What it takes to stand out from your competition
  • How to draw tourists in to your rural accommodation options
  • What is needed to start your own business


Where: At the comfort of your desk! – Details will be sent upon registration

For more details please contact CES at 1-877-444-5550 or email info@cesclients.com

Share your Story with the World - Digital Storytelling Project!

We're happy to announce that we'll be offering Digital Storytelling Projects through our Cultural Preservation Initiative starting at only $4,500! 

This is an amazing opportunity to:

  • Celebrate and preserve your community's unique culture and heritage
  • Record and document stories about your culture, traditions and language
  • Map and share the spirit and identity of your people
  • Create a digital living museum of your community
  • Develop an innovative app that showcases stories from your past, present, and future
  • Engage youth & elders and everyone in between in protecting your culture
Call Amanda to apply at 1-877-444-5550 or email her at amanda@cesclients.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tourism Excellence North Brokers Meeting - June 8, 2016

Announcement: There is going to be a Tourism Excellence North Brokers Meeting at Old Fort William on Wednesday June 8th from 9:30am to 4pm.

The meeting is free to attend and is most relevant to tourism stakeholders from the region, in particular provincial and federal tourism advisors municipal staff, economic development officers, destination marketing organization staff, sector organizations and others who are on the ground and in the field supporting tourism operators, destinations and communities as a regular part of their everyday job.

The Tourism Excellence North (TEN) program was presented at the 2016 NOMA Conference this year and is a tourism development program for Northern Ontario, inspired in part by the success and impact of a similar program led by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in Atlantic Canada. TEN is a suite of 10 training solutions designed to strengthen the ability of tourism operations to respond to changes in the marketplace, adapt to quality visitor expectations, develop innovative experiences that raise the bar on visitor value and deliver increased returns for operations and the destination as a whole. TEN strategically guides investment into tourism development holistically over the long term. TEN is aligned to support priorities for tourism development in Northern Ontario, specifically those of Tourism Northern Ontario (TNO) and Explorer’s Edge (EE). TEN also supports and aligns with service quality enhancement and visitor experience priorities of Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy: Welcoming the World and Ontario’s Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. Initiated in September 2014, the final plan, completed in February 2015 is supported by a 3-­year implementation plan. 

For more information visit their website at http://tourismexcellencenorth.ca

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to Start an Ecotourism in 1 Day

You are invited to the following event:
Event to be held at the following time and date:
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (EDT)

To Register click here

How to Start an Ecotourism Business in 1 Day
What you will learn how to:
  • The process of what you need to start a grassroots ecotourism business
  • How to get your business ‘market ready’
  • Market your business online and reach your target audience
  • How to work effectively with tourism businesses, organizations, & your community

 Where: At the comfort of your desk! – Details will be sent upon registration
Who: Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES) is a tourism and community development firm with over 18 years of Indigenous tourism development. We specialize in planning, business development, coaching & training, cultural preservation projects, cultural village development, cultural digital apps and marketing and branding. 
Tired of the same old methods and consultants? -  Join us and discover why we are one of Canada’s premier firms working with Indigenous communities across Canada and around the world.

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

We hope you can make it! If you have any questions give us a call at 1-877-444-5550.

Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Remembrance of Sherman Herodier - An Amazing Soul that Touched all of our Lives

Not too many times in your lifetime you come across special people that make an impact on your life. Our team at Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES) have all had the privilege to have met Sherman Herodier. We all had more than just a working relationship with him. We all consider him a close friend and an Elder that we can all look up to.  Each of us always looked forward to connecting with him and his amazing sense of humour always made our day. He was a strong Cultural Ambassador in Eeyou Istchee and spoke so highly of preserving his culture for future generations. His kind soul has touched all of us and we will always remember him.

Here are a few words from our team…

“I guess I knew that Sherman and I would be lifelong friends when he trusted me enough to give me a Cree nickname. After a week together in Waskaganish, Sherman looks at me and says 'Jason White . . . White . . . . hmmmm, Gawabaitch (don't quote me on the spelling), and then he and the other guys all laughed. I figured they just thought it was funny that I now had a new name in Cree.  It wasn't until a couple of days later that my friend Paul Diamond said to me 'you know that nickname Sherman gave you? Well, it doesn't exactly mean 'white' like the colour.' I had be duped! But by a sweetheart of a guy.

And then a couple of months later I'm at the Air Creebec gate getting ready to board around 7:00 am, and I hear 'hey, Gawabaitch' . . . and as I stood up to go and see my friend Sherman at least 30 Cree people looked at me and started to laugh, lol.  Not in a mean way of course.  I'm going to miss him.” – Jason White

“Every time I think of Sherman, I have a smile on my face. I feel so grateful to have known him. He was such a kind and loving soul and I’ll always remember him.” – Amanda Huculak

“We at the CES were all greatly touched in different ways by Sherman and are so saddened by his passing. He was what we all hope to be when it comes to being a humanitarian.  His spirit will rest high in all of us. Rest in the highest spirit Sherman, and when we live our life true and strong we will think of you old friend.” – Clinton Belcher

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Our Corporate Social Responsibility - CES Gives Back!

CES has provided over $100K in funding for Indigenous Communities to develop tourism across Canada

CES has over 19 years of experience working with Indigenous communities across Canada and abroad on grassroots community-based projects. Our team shares a passion for helping communities move forward with various projects and we offer a variety of different programs where we donate in kind services to help bring projects to life. We tend to operate more as a social enterprise than a profit driven business. We value the relationships with each and everyone of our clients which sets us apart from your typical consultant.

We thought we would share some of the results of our past programs and initiatives that we have done in the past and the communities that we helped along the way. All in all we have contributed through our Corporate Social Responsibility over $100K to 33 communities across Canada. Here are just a few of the programs and the impact that they have had on communities in Canada.

The Community Needs Assessment Program (CNAP)

This program is perfect for those communities interested in defining their potential for viable tourism businesses in their community. It includes all costs covered for an on-site visit to the community where someone from our team will assess the tourism potential of the community and will meet with leadership to exchange ideas and discuss options for moving forward. We then prepare a brief ‘go forward/next steps’ strategy as well as provide options for funding to move projects forward. This has been a successful project and we have visited 8 communities across Canada over the past 4 years. Some of the recent communities that have been approved for this program and have moved forward with tourism initiatives are:
  • Seine River First Nation
  • Kitselas First Nation
  • Six Nations Tourism
  • Magnetawan First Nation
  • Georgina Island First Nation
  • Wikwemikong First Nation
  • Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point
  • Tulita Development Corporation

The Cultural Preservation Initiative (CPI)

This program provides up to $10,000 in funding towards the development costs of the My Community App Project. The My Community App project shares the spirit and identity of your community using digital storytelling on an engaging interactive App. It uses videos, images, maps, and written stories that share the culture and history of your community told by the community. We provide the training, the resources and the knowledge for this project and it is meant to be grown and added to for years to come. We target the Youth, the Elders and everyone in between to contribute to this exciting project. We have now implemented projects across Canada in Georgina Island First Nation, Seine River First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, Chesterfield Inlet, West Moberly First Nation, and Kitselas First Nation. Here’s what Web Bennet from Kitselas First Nation had to say about this exciting project -  http://youtu.be/JwvRv7v2HhA.

Tourism Feasibility Study Program

Throughout the years we continue to adapt our programs and have determined that Feasibility Studies are great ways to kick start tourism initiatives in order to determine if they are viable options for a community.  We wanted to work with communities to ensure a project is feasible before investing a great amount of resources into concepts.  So in the Fall of 2015 we started the Tourism Feasibility Study Program that provides up to $5,000 in funding for professional fees towards the costs of developing a Feasibility Study. So far we have 2 successful Clients that are moving forward with their projects. Due to the need and success of this program we decided to implement it again in 2016 and are now accepting applications for it. For more info please contact info@cesclients.com.

In addition to our funding programs we offer a variety of complimentary services to our Clients such as Free Webinars and Proposal Writing.

To stay informed about our new programs and funding programs follow us our social media sites:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

‘Aiming’ for the Future of Indigenous Tourism in Canada

Having worked in the Indigenous Tourism Industry in Canada for over 19 years, Canadian Ecotourism Services (CES)’s CEO, Clinton Belcher created an innovative approach that combines new age technology with grassroots cultural entrepreneurs. This idea has more of less been an approach that CES has recommended to their clients for a long time, however the addition of new technologies has taken it to the next level.

Here’s some background on the concept…

Retention of culture has become an issue for many indigenous communities throughout the world and there is a critical need for opportunities and innovative models to integrate culture into community life. The tourism industry presents a unique opportunity to preserve culture and educate visitors about the rich culture, history and traditions of the past, present and future.

CES’s Pando Terra™ model represents the root for sustainable community development by way of community initiatives and projects’ encouraging community advancement, and allowing for true grassroots growth to take place. Pando Terra™ is an organic process of economic development in harmony with cultural traditions.  Rather than focusing on tourism development as a catalyst for growth, tourism will develop naturally as a secondary outcome of a solid community platform. People will want to know more about the community and learn about the people and their culture. This has led to an increased demand for entrepreneurial programming support, leading to the need for controlled growth and well thought out marketing and development strategies.

This becomes the kind of ‘experiential’ tourism being highlighted throughout Canada; the kind of tourism that has existed in many parts of the world for years, and is branded ’Spontaneous Tourism’ by CES.

Tourists want to experience diverse cultures; to eat, live in, and explore a new place for a short time, and not necessarily participate in any specific ‘tourist’ activity. The importance of the need to support the community first before commercializing the culture needs to remain the priority.  Pando Terra™ supports this model and promotes responsible sharing of culture and product offerings.

The Cultural Entrepreneur…

Many Indigenous communities already have passionate individuals in their communities that enjoy sharing their culture and knowledge with visitors. These community members can be storytellers, guides, fishermen, artists, singers, dancers, wood carvers, artisans, cooks, and more!

However, these particular individuals may not have their own business and are unaware of how to market themselves and reach out to potential visitors. So there is a large communication gap and missed business opportunities in each community.

Creating ‘packaged moments’…

This led CES to creating a model that celebrates individual Cultural Entrepreneurs under one community platform, known as the Authentic Indigenous Moments (AIM™) Model. The main objective is to empower local community members to share their culture and do what they are passionate about, whether it is guided experiences on the land to learn traditional survival skills, how to make the best bannock, or sitting around a fire telling stories and legends of the past. The community has individuals that are looking for these types of opportunities, however many are overwhelmed with the process of starting their own business. This approach allows cultural entrepreneurs to share their knowledge, skills and passion with visitors.

The purpose of the AIM™ is:
  • To create a clear tourism identity
  • To create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities
  • To provide a centralized web portal for visitors
  • To create mobile connections between the visitors and their hosts
  • To maximize marketing activities

Use a Digital Destination Strategy…

The use of an interactive web platform is vital to the success of this approach. A community has the opportunity to promote their tourism experiences through a centralized node that is accessible on all devices such as desktop computers, mobile and tablet devices. A great feature for this approach is that visitors also can navigate the different tour options, write reviews, and book online with ease. Each Cultural Entrepreneur is featured on the site, so that the potential visitor can begin to develop a relationship with this individual and learn about them before even meeting them in person. It is a self-regulating system that is based on reviews, which places pressure on each entrepreneur to be a great host to visitors.

Some of the benefits of AIM™ include:
  •  Creates personalized, high quality, independent cultural tourism activities for the region
  • Acts as an incubator to encourage entrepreneurs
  • Offers additional income to community members
  • Provides additional marketing services for the region, the communities and its existing businesses
  • Provides a ‘one stop shop’ for visitors wanting to visit the region

All and all, this project offers amazing benefits to the community using a low impact and cost-effective approach. For more information on AIM™ and how to get started contact us at info@cesclients.com