Feds commit almost $25 million in new funding for Indigenous tourism

For Indigenous tourism businesses in B.C. and across the country have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, some relief is on the way.

Indigenous World Winery

Credit: Indigenous World Winery. Bernice and Robert Louie, proprietors of Indigenous World Winery in Kelowna

The money, distributed over two years, will support the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and the launch of a fund to help the industry recover

For Indigenous tourism businesses in B.C. and across the country that have struggled during COVID-19, some financial relief is on the way.

Yesterday, as part of Budget 2022, the federal government announced that it is committing $24.8 million over two years to Indigenous tourism. That came as welcome news to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, which is helping the industry it represents to rebuild and recover from the pandemic.

Like other tourism-related efforts, ITAC’s $65-million strategic recovery plan for 2022-25 wasn’t prioritized in the budget, the Vancouver-based organization noted in a release. However, ITAC highlighted three proposals from the feds to reduce financial pressure on Indigenous tour operators:

  • $4.8 million in funding for ITAC over two years, starting in 2022-23, to support its national operations
  • $20 million over the same period for a new Indigenous Tourism Fund to help the industry recover from the pandemic and position itself for long-term, sustainable growth
  • Forgiving up to 50 percent of the Indigenous Business Initiative loans that supported entrepreneurs in need during the pandemic

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“ITAC appreciates the federal government’s support for the Indigenous tourism industry as it tries to recover from COVID-19,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “We acknowledge the hardships and resilience our communities have faced these past two years and know there is still a long road ahead, but rest assured that ITAC will work diligently with its partners to execute a meaningful and vigilant recovery plan.”