Indigenous tourism posts record numbers in B.C.

Credit: Courtesy of Indigenous Tourism BC

Huu-ay-aht First Nation Councillor Trevor Cootes (second from right) aims to make his nation a bigger tourism player

Report shows dramatic growth in the industry over a three-year period

A new audit shows that the province’s Indigenous tourism industry has seen “record-breaking” growth.

Compiled by West Vancouver-based O’Neil Marketing & Consulting and released by Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), the audit notes that in 2016/17, the province was home to 401 Indigenous tourism–related businesses, a 33-percent increase over 2014.

Overall during that period, there were 7,400 direct full-time jobs created in B.C. by those businesses, which generated $705 million in direct gross domestic output in 2016 alone.

The report also projects that 7.2 million visitors will engage in Indigenous tourism over the next two years from the country’s top five markets for such experiences: Canada, Germany, the U.K., the U.S. and China.

We are thrilled to share the unprecedented statistics outlined in the Tourism Performance Audit Report, said Brenda Baptiste, chair of ITBC. Much of this success comes down to the hard work and dedication of B.C.’s Indigenous tourism operators, who—through the assistance from our valued partners and funders—created market-ready experiences that promote our diverse Indigenous cultures to an estimated 3.6 million overnight travellers annually.