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A current awareness resource for students & faculty members in Business & Economics

On Indigenous tourism: sources & searches

Published by Mark Bodnar

There's been growing interest in the topic of Indigenous tourism from students in many subject areas. We thought a post about research resources and search strategies might save everyone some time and effort, plus it's a chance for us to highlight some of our favourite databases and search tricks... 

  This blog post will focus narrowly on Indigenous tourism, with a few resources on related areas such as eco-tourism and cultural tourism included for context. 

For additional resources on broader topics such as Indigenous businesses, communities, and economic development, try our more general guide to Indigenous business resources or our Library guide for Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership

Find journal & news articles

Business Source Complete: Covers business journals, industry magazines, and industry & market reports, including tourism publications such as the International Journal Of Tourism Research and the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing.

View/hide Business Source Complete sample searches

The following search is meant to get you started, but certainly won't be comprehensive. Adjust the search terms to focus on your specific needs.

(aborig* or native* or "First Nations" or Indigenous) AND (market* or tour* or ecotour* or eco-tour* or "heritage tour*" or "cultur* tour*") AND (canad* or BC or "British Columbia" or Ontario) 

To find MarketLine industry profiles of Canada's tourism industry in general: (TI "industry profile") AND (TX marketline) AND tourism AND Canada
(For MarketLine's profiles of the tourism industry in other countries, omit "Canada" from the search strategy)

Bibliography of Indigenous Peoples in North America: A mix of academic articles and news sources on all aspects of Indigenous North American culture, history, and life from the sixteenth century to the present. 

View/hide Bibliography of Indigenous Peoples in North America sample searches

The following searches are meant to get you started. Adjust the search terms to focus on your specific needs. Note that given the focused nature of this database, you may not need to add terms to reflect the Indigenous aspect of your topic.

(market* or tour* or ecotour* eco-tour* or "heritage tour*" or "cultur* tour") AND (Canad* or BC or "British Columbia" or Ontario)

"Indigenous tourism"

Those searches should lead you to articles such as...

Maher, P. T., MacPherson, S., Doucette, M. B., Tulk, J. E., & Menge, T. (2018). Sustainability, ethics, and authenticity in Indigenous tourism: The case of Eskasoni Cultural Journeys on Goat Island. Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development, 11(1), 90-106. doi:https://doi.org/10.54056/QIEV4587
[Use the red Get@SFU button to link through to the fulltext of this article.]

Wiedman, D. (2010). Global Marketing of Indigenous Culture: Discovering Native America with Lee Tiger and the Florida Miccosukee. American Indian Culture & Research Journal, 34(3), 1–26. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.17953/aicr.34.3.k7815085g7472p70

  Many of the nonacademic magazines covered in this database are not available at SFU, but if you click on the red Get@SFU button in citations from such publications, you'll be able to quickly submit interlibrary loan requests.

CBCA Fulltext Business:  A broad range of Canadian business publications, including industry & general business magazines as well as academic journals such as the Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development (published by the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers) and The Canadian Journal of Native Studies.

View/hide a CBCA Business sample search

The following broad search is meant to get you started in CBCA Business. Add additional terms, or limit your results by year or publication type to focus on your specific needs.

(aborig* OR indigen* OR native* OR "First Nations") AND (touri* OR ecotour* OR eco-tour* OR ("heritage tour" OR "heritage tourism" OR "heritage tours") OR "cultur* tour")

Remember that even a non-academic article may be full of clues you could explore in other resources. For instance, this article mentioned this podcast.

Canadian Newsstream:  Full text access to major Canadian daily newspapers such as the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun as well as small-market newspapers and weeklies published in Canada.

View/hide Canadian Newsstream sample searches

This very broad Canadian Newsstream search is a good start, but you'll definitely want to delete or add terms and adjust the limits in the left column (date, format, location, etc.) to refine and reduce your results. 

(aborig* OR indigen* OR native* OR "First Nations") AND (touri* OR ecotour* OR eco-tour* OR ("heritage tour" OR "heritage tourism" OR "heritage tours") OR (cultur* NEAR/1 tour*))

News articles are often great starting places. They might describe examples of tourism initiatives you can explore elsewhere or issues & perspectives you hadn't yet considered. They may also mention experts, research studies, etc. — all of which are clues about deeper information you might want to look for on the Internet or in other databases. See, for instance, this more focused news search that seeks articles with a research angle from the last few years.

GeoBase: Geography database covering publications such as the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, the Journal of Ecotourism, and Annals of Tourism Research.

View/hide a GeoBase sample search

The GeoBase sample search below looks more complicated than it is. If you read it closely, you'll see that it uses roughly the same groups of concepts used in our other searches: tourism terms + Canadian geographic terms + Indigenous terms . Delete or add terms as needed to refine your results.  

((((touri* OR eco-tour* OR ecotour* OR (heritage AND touri*) OR (cultur* AND touri*))) AND ((Canad* OR Alberta OR Ontario OR BC OR "British Columbia"))) AND ((aborig* OR indigen* OR native* OR "First Nations")))

Find books & ebooks

Search the SFU Library Catalogue to find books, government publications, films, and more. Here are just a few examples of the books available here at SFU to support your research: 

Find more books, ebooks, and reports using these search tips and links:

Searching by title: Use the catalogue's Browse Search tab (top of screen) to find books by a specific author or title.

Searching by topic: Click on the "View/hide" option below for sample searches and more!

View/hide catalogue search tips and sample searches

The catalogue is powerful and complex tool, but if you remember a few basic tips, you can quickly create searches that are as broad or as targeted as you need: 

  • Combine different concepts using AND (in capital letters)
  • Combine same concepts using OR (in capital letters)
  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase
  • Use brackets for synonyms
  • Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words
  • See the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide for additional tips to make your research even more efficient!

Here are a few rough exploratory searches to get you started: 

Finally, some more complex keyword searches that bring in geographic, industry, and colonialism aspects: 

Consult tourism handbooks

It might be useful to step back and take a broad view of related concepts such as community-based or cultural tourism. A good handbook can quickly provide the context you need.

View/hide a list of online tourism handbooks in our collection

Beyond the library

It's often useful to identify the stakeholders in any business situation, industry associations, supporting organizations, government agencies, etc., then check their sites for useful reports, directories, news, and more.

Associations & organizations

Tourism focused

View/hide a list of tourism-focused organizations in BC and Canada

BC Wilderness Tourism Association

Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council

Destination BC: industry site + public site

Destination Canada: industry site + public site

The human resources and health & safety association for BC’s tourism and hospitality industry. Their research reports may help you understand the overall labour situation in the local tourism industry. For instance...

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)
"The purpose of the ITAC is to improve the socio-economic situation of Indigenous people within the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada. ITAC does that through the provision of [...] services to Indigenous tourism operators and communities, or those looking to start a cultural tourism business."

Indigenous Tourism BC
A "non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry" that is "regarded as a world leader in the development and promotion of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism products and experiences and is actively supporting the province in becoming a leading global destination for Indigenous tourism."

Tourism Industry Association of Canada

World Tourism Organization
Many of the UNWTO's resources are available only for subscribers, but they do offer some free reports in their E-library that you might find useful. For example: 

Other associations & organizations

View/hide examples of non-tourism associations & organizations whose reports may intersect with Indigenous Tourism

Conference Board of Canada
We don't have a subscription to the Conference Board of Canada here at SFU, and many of their reports are quite expensive. However, a small number of their reports can be downloaded for free (after registration). A few examples: 

Outdoor Recreation Council of BC

Small Business BC

Also see our Policy Commons database for reports from research institutes, think tanks, etc. 



View/hide relevant Canadian (federal) government ministries & agencies

British Columbia

View/hide relevant BC government ministries & agencies

Open-ended web searching

Google Scholar : Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, and universities. 

View/hide Google Scholar tips & sample searches

In these sample searches, we've used the "intitle" search tag to focus on resources in which our terms appear in the title. We've also used the vertical line ("pipe") as an "OR" substitute to make it simpler to search for either indigenous OR aboriginal. Learn more about that and other useful tricks in the SFU Library's search tips page.

Make the most efficient use of your time in Google Scholar by turning on a feature to connect your search results through to SFU Library resources: Go to Google Scholar's Settings, select Library Links, then search for and select Simon Fraser University. You should then see Get@SFU links next to many of the articles in your search results.

Also, when browsing your result list, look for "cited by" links beneath article references to find who has cited those articles since they were first published. For instance, this 2018 article has been cited by more than 30 newer articles and chapters 

Google : Finally, a broad Google search that might unearth additional resources not covered by this long post!


Again, we've tried to keep this post focused largely on Indigenous tourism. For resources on Indigenous economic development, communities, and more, try our guide to Indigenous business resources or our Library guide for Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership.

Good luck with your research!

Mark Bodnar & Moninder Lalli
Business Librarians
mbodnar@sfu.ca & moninder_lalli@sfu.ca