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Posted: December 28, 2018

Indigenous Tourism BC gets $1 million support

Destination British Columbia is providing $1 million in funding to the Indigenous Tourism Association of BC (ITBC) to create new products and experiences and present them to the global market.

ITBC has led the way in solidifying B.C.’s position as a world leader in Indigenous Tourism, supporting the growth of the sector in a sustainable and meaningful way, and visitors to the province are taking note. Indigenous tourism celebrated a record-breaking year in 2017 after generating $705 million in gross domestic output for the province, and demand continues to rise.

There are currently 401 Indigenous tourism-related businesses operating in the province, up from 267 in 2014. Together, these businesses create more than 7,400 full-time jobs. Over the next two years, these businesses are expected to welcome 7.2 million visitors looking to engage with an Indigenous tourism experience.

“Since the inception of Indigenous Tourism BC, we’ve been working alongside Destination BC and the province, and we look forward to continuing this partnership. Together, we can continue to build on the success of the past year while taking a moment to recognize and celebrate the hard work and ingenuity of BC’s Indigenous tourism operators,” said Brenda Baptiste, Director, Indigenous Tourism BC.

“The demand for Indigenous tourism experiences is on the rise. British Columbia is home to more than 200 First Nations, each with a unique culture and history, making our visitors appreciate the richness of our province’s Indigenous experiences. For over a decade, we’ve welcomed the opportunity to work with leaders at Indigenous Tourism BC to grow a sustainable Indigenous tourism industry,” added Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC.

Destination BC is committed to working together with ITBC to support the development and marketing of Indigenous tourism experiences to solidify BC’s already strong foundation for cultural tourism, to continue to attract visitors from around the world.

Destination BC also continues to take a greater role in marketing Indigenous tourism so ITBC can increase its investments in product and experience development, training, and capacity building across the province.

“British Columbia can proudly say we are leaders in Indigenous Tourism in Canada and I want to thank Indigenous Tourism BC for much of the great work to help put us there. We are so proud to continue to support this organization through Destination BC, and we look forward to watching this industry continue to grow and support our economy,” stated Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture.

In previous years, ITBC has used Destination BC’s funding to hire Indigenous tourism specialists in partnership with the Northern BC Tourism Association and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. These specialists work directly with Indigenous communities to develop tourism experiences and help meet the rising demand for Indigenous tourism in B.C.

ITBC is a non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry.

Lead image: St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, with the new KOA campground officially opened last summer, is a dynamic example of Indigenous tourism in British Columbia. e-KNOW file photo

Submitted by Destination BC

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