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Posted: March 6, 2020

Indigenous Tourism BC gets funding boost

People who work in the Indigenous tourism sector and communities throughout B.C. will benefit from $4 million to create new opportunities for tourism development, says a March 5 Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture media release.

“Indigenous tourism offers a unique experience that allows Indigenous communities to welcome people to their land and tell their stories the way they want them to be told,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture. “Indigenous tourism has great potential in B.C., and our government is investing in Indigenous Tourism BC to ensure people enjoy the benefits of this thriving sector.”

Through Destination BC, the province is providing Indigenous Tourism BC with $4 million over three years, beginning April 1. This is an increase of $1 million over the previous three years. It will go toward funding Indigenous tourism specialists in regions throughout the province and enhancing Indigenous Tourism BC’s digital resources.

“Destination BC has been a strong partner and supporter of Indigenous Tourism BC for almost 20 years,” said Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC. “Investing in Indigenous tourism will help ensure more travellers experience the authenticity, uniqueness and diversity of B.C., and the stories and products offered by Indigenous peoples and communities across the province.”

This additional funding reinforces the Indigenous Tourism Accord, signed by Indigenous Tourism BC and the province in November 2019, as a commitment to help grow opportunities for people and tourism businesses in B.C. while supporting the next generation of Indigenous tourism operators, the ministry media release stated.

“Increased support of Indigenous tourism reinforces B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, revitalizing Indigenous cultures, traditions and languages,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “As the industry develops, it’s vital we continue to provide employment opportunities for Indigenous communities and that their needs remain a central focus. Greater Indigenous participation not only contributes to the authenticity of tourism in B.C., but it ensures a more vibrant and diverse destination for the millions that visit each year.”

Check out a feature on Ktunaxa Nation tourism enterprises on the Indigenous Tourism BC website.

Lead image: National Aboriginal Days activities at St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino. e-KNOW file photo

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