GSCT finalist for international award

MANITOULIN—GSCT has been nominated by two, third party groups for an international award—the 2016 Seatrade Cruise “Supplier of the Year” Award—and has been selected as a “short-list” finalist for the award.

Nominees for the Seatrade Supplier of the Year Award winner is identified as a firm or individual who has provided an exceptional quality service, or product or innovation to the cruise sector over the past 12 months. Great Spirit Circle Trail (GSCT) has been providing land excursions to the cruise industry for over a decade and has been developing various products for multiple markets during that time. GSCT has been a trailblazer and has been growing the economy in the region through tourism development and has been fulfilling its attempts to improve the socio-economic conditions for First Nation partners and everyone in the Manitoulin region year in and year out by helping to increase the visitor spending in the region and creating new employment opportunities.

GSCT and partners such as the Great Lakes Cruise Coalition, Lakeshore Excursions, Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, Wikwemikong Tourism, the various cruise ships and other suppliers in the industry rely heavily on each other to grow the cruise industry on the Great Lakes and to share the Anishnabek culture with visitors from around the globe.

The Great Spirit Circle Trail began its journey in the tourism industry in 1997 where the original peoples of the land—the Anishnabek­––decided they were going to tell their story to visitors on their terms and in their own hospitable way.

GSCT is 100 percent owned and operated by the Anishnabek of the region.

Offered by the local Anishnabek guides, tours are all educational, interpretive and experiential. The carefully planned itineraries offer a true reflection of the history and culture of the region and the Anishnabek—the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi peoples. Well educated, fun loving, and friendly, the Anishnabek tour leaders and guides are experienced and knowledgeable of the local area and take the utmost pride in presenting visitors with a glimpse of the Anishnabek culture and traditions which have been passed down from generation to generation.

The exceptional service provided by the GSCT has made them an ideal candidate for ‘Supplier of the Year’ award category with the Seatrade Awards, a press release on the award states. “With an approach to tours that educates in so many ways, is soul engagingly interactive, and truly experiential, the Great Spirit Circle Trail exemplifies exceptional quality services to the cruise sector.”

GSCT takes pride in welcoming guests, speaking the language of the visitors, and having the visitors leave speaking a bit of Ojibwe. With the guests being taught some of the Ojibwe language while on tour. Visitors are often heard saying “miigwetch” (Ojibwe for ‘thank you’) and/or “Baamaapii” (Ojibwe for ‘see you again’).

GSCT and its team have become experts in developing the tourism industry and their work ethic and tenacity to succeed is shared by all and led by Kevin Eshkawkogan, chief executive officer, the press release continues.

“GSCT is an entity that takes on building the tourism industry and improving the socioeconomic conditions seriously and do so in true ‘Anishnabek style’ by thinking of the communal good first and foremost,” says Mr. Eshkawkogan.

Examples of the ‘communal work’ of the GSCT includes growing Manitoulin’s tourism industry for all, helping establish the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC), playing a major role in developing the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre, and their next monumental endeavour, creating a unified voice for Indigenous tourism in Ontario by establishing Aboriginal Tourism Ontario (ATO).

The Seatrade Awards ceremony will take place on September 22 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife where the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.