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First Nations and Fairmont Hotel
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First Nations and Fairmont Hotel
  Vancouver Travel News ( Press Release )

The Fairmont Waterfront and H wus Feasthouse Launch BC's Largest Strategic Partnership for Aboriginal Tourism

In a dramatic ceremony involving the Elders of the Sechelt Nation, The Fairmont Waterfront and the h'wus Feasthouse Inc. formed a strategic partnership to offer British Columbia-bound convention goers a unique blend of aboriginal theme programming.

It is British Columbia's largest partnership for aboriginal tourism and the only one of its kind in Canada. H'wus will provide The Fairmont Waterfront with a complete package of aboriginally themed convention programming, including:

* museum quality decorative art,

* fully trained aboriginal dancers in traditional regalia,

* corporate team building exercises based on First Nations wisdom,

* customized corporate gifts and

* group excursions in handcrafted killer whale canoes.

Under the agreement, when convention organizers request an aboriginal theme for a meeting at The Fairmont Waterfront, renowned Coast Salish artist Richard Krentz will transform the facility into a traditional west coast longhouse or an entire First Nations village.

"We will give visitors the full cultural experience," says Krentz. "Music, art, food and the traditional wisdom of our people. From the first day's welcoming ceremony to the moment when we send them home with handcrafted mementos, we will offer convention goers a unique immersion in our ancient way of life."

Krentz, who is also the president of Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia, sees his partnership with Fairmont as a way to open doors for BC First Nations eager to enter the developing market for aboriginal tourism, playing an important role in BC's billion-dollar convention industry.

"We are extremely proud of this partnership and of the work of Executive Chef Daryle Nagata, whose passion for First Nations' cuisine and culture brought about this partnership," says Kiaran MacDonald, general manager of The Fairmont Waterfront. "This program provides a distinct marketing advantage, offering a truly unique experience to meeting and convention goers, and one which we look forward to promoting around the world."

Chef Nagata has had an affinity for First Nations cultures since he was a child growing up near the Peigan Reserve near Lethbridge, Alberta. "I've always been interested in Canada's indigenous cultures," he says. "Food is an integral part of the culture and that is something I can strongly identify with given my Japanese and Scottish background."

"There is an enormous interest in aboriginal tourism throughout the world, as part of the fast-growing eco-tourism sector," says Krentz. "The key to making aboriginal tourism work in British Columbia is to create market-ready attractions that will satisfy a sophisticated customer base. This partnership, with Fairmont providing world-class facilities, and h'wus providing the authentic cultural content, is a strategy for success. It's a model that other aboriginal tourism developers can adopt."

Krentz says the partnership will create 50 jobs initially for First Nations people, a total that could easily double as demand for aboriginally themed conventions grows.

Krentz, whose name in the Sechelt language is kw t m-us, launched the successful h'wus Feasthouse on Grouse Mountain four years ago, in partnership with Grouse Mountain Resort. A highly collectible artist working in the Coast Salish tradition, he crafts totem poles and large-scale artwork for institutional and corporate clients, as well as gold jewellery and his signature line of traditional bentwood boxes. He also constructs full-scale long houses and 13-metre long stalashen (killer whale) cedar canoes.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is the largest operator of luxury hotels and resorts in North America, with a unique collection of world-class resorts and city center hotels that enjoy unrivalled prominence in the communities where they are located. For more information on Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, please visit our Web site at www.fairmont.com




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