Supports for Indigenous tourism businesses continue

November 16, 2021 at 3:35 pm  BC, News, Politics

Indigenous tourism businesses will receive another financial boost to aid in pandemic recovery and foster growth through the continued partnership of the Province and Indigenous Tourism BC.

“Back by popular demand, we are responding once again to the Call to Action from the Indigenous tourism sector,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “These grants are reconciliation in action and support self-determination for Indigenous tourism businesses to showcase their territories, culture and people. Together with Indigenous Tourism BC, we are working to rebuild Indigenous-led tourism and return it to the thriving levels of growth we saw before the pandemic, resulting in a stronger future for everyone.”

The Province initially provided $5 million to Indigenous Tourism B.C. (ITBC) to create the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund. It is now is providing an additional $3 million for a second intake.

Launched in February 2021, the fund provides grants to Indigenous tourism businesses, including lodges and resorts, restaurants, outdoor adventure experiences, galleries and gift shops owned by Indigenous people. Recipients can use the funds to keep the lights on and pay rent or employee wages. The intake opening date for the second round of the recovery grant will be announced by ITBC in the coming weeks.

“ITBC has worked hard with stakeholders and provided a support system for businesses to continue operating during the pandemic,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “We are extremely grateful for the partnerships and work that we do with the tourism industry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.”

For example, Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design on the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, used its grant to maintain its business.

“The ITBC grant process was well-developed and efficient, which allowed us to focus on doing the work that we do in sharing Coast Salish art and culture. The funds enabled us to maintain our business operations while developing our newest collections, resulting in our successful launch at New York Fashion Week in fall 2021,” said Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good, sisters, directors and designers of Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design, a second-generation Coast Salish design house. “With our Stqeeye’ Collection showcase, we were able to share Coast Salish art, music and culture on a global scale, and reach millions of viewers worldwide, benefiting our business and our community in a positive way.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are more than 480 Indigenous tourism businesses, within the 203 First Nations in British Columbia.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing sector of the tourism industry. It generated $705 million in direct gross domestic output and created 7,400 direct full-time jobs.
  • 140 Indigenous tourism businesses received grants through the first round of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund, which is a partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC.  
  • These grants have assisted in maintaining nearly 1,200 jobs in communities throughout B.C. in the past year.
  • The BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund is part of the Province’s actions to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

Learn More:

Read more about the first round of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund and recipients:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021TACS0039-000975

This fund is a direct reflection of Action 4.28 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan, supporting the social, cultural and economic well-being of Indigenous Peoples:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/667/2021/06/Declaration_Act_-_Draft_Action_Plan_for_consultation.pdf

Indigenous Tourism BC is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry: https://www.indigenousbc.com/

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