Government of Canada and ITAC announce first businesses supported by Indigenous Tourism Fund

by ahnationtalk on February 22, 202442 Views

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Announcement reflects progress on, and ongoing commitment to, Indigenous tourism in Canada

February 22, 2024 – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Indigenous tourism helps advance reconciliation while creating jobs in communities nationwide. That’s why supporting its growth, in close partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, is one of the Government of Canada’s top priorities. Most significantly, the government is working with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) to roll out the $10 million Indigenous Tourism Fund (ITF) Micro and Small Business Stream (MSBS), which offers direct financial support to Indigenous tourism businesses.

The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, with the support of Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC, today announced the first businesses to receive financial support under the ITF-MSBS. A total of 13 Indigenous tourism businesses from across Newfoundland and Labrador have been granted $325,000 in federal funding, delivered by ITAC. Minister Martinez Ferrada made the announcement during her keynote address at the 2024 Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador Annual Conference and Trade Show.

The $10 million MSBS was launched by Minister Martinez Ferrada in November 2023. It is administered by ITAC in collaboration with provincial and territorial Indigenous tourism organizations and is part of the $20 million ITF announced in Budget 2022. The MSBS is focused on supporting the Indigenous tourism industry and guiding it toward long-term, sustainable growth. Today’s announcement underscores the government’s commitment to supporting Indigenous tourism.

A key requirement for MSBS funding is an initial assessment under ITAC’s The Original Original (TOO) Accreditation Program, which evaluates business, visitor and export readiness. This prerequisite ensures applicants will be able to use the fund effectively. By providing non-repayable contributions of up to $25,000 for qualifying businesses, the MSBS will help Indigenous tourism grow and thrive, support Indigenous communities, and further position Canada as a top global destination.

About the ITF-MSBS:

Budget 2022 allocated $20 million over two years to establish the ITF, aimed at facilitating the Indigenous tourism industry’s progression toward long-term, sustainable growth. The ITF-MSBS was officially launched on November 17, 2023, in Vancouver, British Columbia. It focuses on providing financial support, promoting the TOO Accreditation Program, and working with provincial and territorial Indigenous tourism organizations to ensure equitable distribution of funding across the country. This initiative reflects a commitment to Indigenous self-determination and reconciliation, with the goal of integrating authentic Indigenous experiences into Canada’s tourism landscape. It is aligned with the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, “Canada 365: Welcoming the World. Every Day,” and is shaped by consultations with tourism stakeholders and Indigenous groups, underscoring the critical role of Indigenous tourism in Canada’s tourism strategy.

Quotes

“Indigenous tourism has the power to create opportunities, transform Canadian tourism and advance reconciliation. That’s why helping it grow and thrive is one of our top priorities. Through an Indigenous-led process, we are supporting communities in making their own decisions and developing tourism at their own pace. I look forward to seeing the difference that this funding makes in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.”

– The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

“Today marks a pivotal moment in the growth and empowerment of Indigenous tourism in Canada. The announcement of funding for 13 businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador through the Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream underscores the Government of Canada’s commitment to fostering economic development, cultural preservation and community prosperity within Indigenous communities. With more funding to come for Indigenous tourism operators across Canada, this will provide authentic tourism experiences to meet the growing visitor demand.”

– Keith Henry, President and CEO, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Quick facts

  • Before the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing segment in the Canadian tourism market, posting significant gains in job creation and contributions to Canada’s GDP.
  • The Indigenous tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic but is now showing signs of recovery. According to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, as of 2022, the industry generated $1.2 billion in direct GDP and supported 32,000 jobs.
  • The Government of Canada’s 2022 budget dedicated $20 million to the Indigenous Tourism Fund to aid the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.
  • In addition, at least 15% (or $16 million) of the Tourism Growth Program from Budget 2023 will be invested in Indigenous tourism attractions.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-Justine Torres
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
613-327-5918
Marie-Justine.TorresAmes@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
media@ised-isde.gc.ca

NT4

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