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Indigenous tourism will benefit from workforce funding, training

October 25, 2023 at 1:47 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

This fall, employers and people working in the Indigenous tourism sector will be able to grow their skills and education through new programs designed to develop careers and strengthen the sector.

“Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing sector in British Columbia’s tourism industry,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “People want to participate in authentic Indigenous experiences and have a deeper understanding of the people and places they visit. By supporting workforce training in Indigenous tourism, we’re ensuring people are trained in culturally appropriate ways and with the skills they need to help fill jobs in this fast-growing industry.”

Led by Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), the $6-million Indigenous Tourism Training Initiative will support current and aspiring Indigenous tourism workers and employers by providing Indigenous-led and culturally focused training and educational opportunities that help attract and retain Indigenous tourism talent.

Indigenous communities, businesses, employees and entrepreneurs will be able to enhance their education and skills in Indigenous storytelling, marketing, social media, workplace safety, and earn certification required to work in the hospitality and tourism industry, such as FoodSafe and Serving It Right.

“ITBC has been integral in setting the path toward success for our expansion into the Vancouver Harbour,” said Alison Evans, owner of Gulf Island Seaplanes. “We had one-on-one training and got advice in many areas to help build our skills in marketing, photography, social media and event planning. We feel so supported as small-business owners, which is incredibly important, and it helps boost our confidence.”

It’s anticipated that more than 240 Indigenous tourism businesses will benefit from the Indigenous Tourism Training Initiative, including 45 communities and more than 1,400 people.

This funding will help build a strong and diverse tourism workforce, make education and skills training affordable for people, and prioritize under-represented populations, including Indigenous people.


Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –

“We all want First Nations to have the support and skills training they need to get the jobs they want. We are working hard to remove barriers, connect employers with the skilled workers they need and fill in-demand jobs in B.C.’s growing economy.”

Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC –

“Indigenous Tourism BC is thrilled to receive this boost in funding and support for training initiatives, which will strengthen the industry and the provincial economy. We look forward to ramping up this project, as the training and development areas are crucial to our long-term plans and empowering Indigenous communities and people. We thank our partners for their commitment as we advance important economic opportunities, growth and reconciliation.”

Quick Facts:

  • A labour market report by ITBC found that in 2017 B.C. had more than 400 Indigenous tourism businesses, which provides 7,400 full-time jobs, with 48% of jobs filled by Indigenous people.
  • Indigenous Tourism BC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help Indigenous tourism businesses in B.C. offer quality experiences, and actively promotes these experiences to visitors and local residents.
  • The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport committed $2 million for the initiative, and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction committed $4 million to support the Indigenous Tourism Training Initiative until March 2026. 

Learn More:

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