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Friday,  May 24, 2024 3:43 AM 

Ottawa announces funding stream for Indigenous tourism operators

  • Other
  •   11-22-2023  10:24 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Ottawa announces funding stream for Indigenous tourism operators
Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC (left). (ITAC)
Pax Global Media

The Canadian government has announced a funding stream worth $10 million to help support small businesses in Canada's Indigenous tourism sector.

The funding, part of the $20 million-dollar Indigenous Tourism Fund (ITF) announced in Budget 2022, will support Indigenous tourism in several key areas, including assistance to operators, according to a press release.

“Authenticity is at the heart of Indigenous tourism,” the federal government stated, and the Micro and Small Business Stream (MSBS) will help Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) deliver and promote” The Original Original Accreditation Program,” which offers high-quality authentic experiences.

The MSBS will be rolled out in partnership with ITAC and provincial and territorial Indigenous tourism organizations, except in Ontario where details regarding the administration of the program will be announced shortly.

READ MORE: ITAC, Destination Canada secure funds to boost Indigenous tourism across Canada

Qualifying micro and small Indigenous tourism businesses and organizations will have access to non-repayable contributions of up to $25,000.

"The Government of Canada's selection of ITAC to support the growth and recovery of Indigenous tourism micro and small businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic marks a noteworthy milestone in our collaborative efforts to foster the development of Indigenous tourism in Canada,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC, in a statement. “Through the Indigenous Tourism Fund's Micro and Small Business Stream, operators can enhance their services and elevate their enterprises to offer unparalleled authentic experiences to visitors in Canada.”

“Furthermore, this stream aligns with The Original Original Accreditation Program to pinpoint areas where Indigenous tourism operators can improve their offerings and provide authentic experiences to visitors."

READ MORE: WestJet promises to help grow Alberta's Indigenous tourism industry

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, ITAC says.

The Indigenous tourism industry was particularly hard hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been slower to recover.

Budget 2022 dedicated $20 million to the ITF to aid the industry's recovery from the pandemic.

As well, at least 15 per cent of the Tourism Growth Program from Budget 2023 will be invested in Indigenous tourism attractions.

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