COAST SALISH TERRITORY, B.C – Last week, the federal government announced a commitment of $24.8 million over two years to Indigenous tourism in Budget 2022. This funding will support the creation of a new Indigenous Tourism Fund and provide $4.8 million to support Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s (ITAC) operations, which continue to help the Indigenous tourism industry re-build and recover from the pandemic.
Although the ITAC’s three-year $65-million strategic recovery plan, Building Back Better: Strategic Recovery of Indigenous Tourism in Canada 2022-2025, was not prioritized in the trimmed down Budget 2022, similar to many other tourism initiatives across this country, ITAC will continue to work with government and its funding partners to advocate for Indigenous-led solutions for the recovery of the Indigenous tourism industry.
In a statement, ITAC says it “is pleased to see that within the very balanced Budget 202,2 there is significant support towards the Indigenous-tourism industry in Canada.”
The budget also outlines strong measures to reduce financial stress for Indigenous tour operators. This includes:
- A proposed plan to provide $4.8 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to ITAC to support its national operations
- A proposed plan, which ITAC advocated heavily for, to provide $20 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, in support of a new Indigenous Tourism Fund to help the Indigenous tourism industry recover from the pandemic and position itself for long-term, sustainable growth.
- A proposed plan to forgive up to 50 per cent of the COVID-Indigenous Business Initiative loans that supported businesses in need during the pandemic. This action will help ensure that Indigenous-owned businesses are positioned for long-term success.
“ITAC appreciates the federal government’s support for the Indigenous-tourism industry as it tries to recover from COVID-19,” says Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “We are grateful to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault, for the ongoing collaboration to develop systems and targeted solutions for the Indigenous tourism industry over the past year. We acknowledge the hardships and resilience our communities have faced these past two years and know there is still a long road ahead, but rest assured that ITAC will work diligently with its partners to execute a meaningful and vigilant recovery plan.”