VANCOUVER — Indigenous Tourism B.C. (ITBC) has released $300,000 in financial support for tourism businesses through the Emergency Relief Fund — a program that offers immediate finances to Indigenous businesses impacted by the global pandemic.
ITBC’s Emergency Relief Fund re-directs $300,000 earmarked for development and marketing towards assisting Indigenous businesses stay afloat and pivot towards a long-term recovery plan. As of May 4, ITBC received applications from every tourism region in the province and was granting 71 businesses with emergency-relief dollars.
“We are grateful to our partners — including the Province of B.C., Destination B.C., Indigenous Services Canada and Western Economic Diversification — for their ongoing investment in Indigenous tourism. The reallocation of funds will assist many Indigenous tourism businesses across the province,” says Brenda Baptiste, chair of ITBC’s Board of Directors. “Despite the uncertainty arising from this pandemic, we are committed to supporting our stakeholders and partners now and well into the future. By championing unity and practicing compassion, we will emerge stronger than ever.”
The grants will provide ITBC Market-Ready Stakeholder’s with up to $5,000 for immediate relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the allotment of Emergency Relief Fund dollars, ITBC has turned attention to assisting stakeholders navigate and access government relief funds and grants.
“These funds have put us on the path for successful post-pandemic business recovery by supporting our efforts to explore and create new marketing, branding and merchandising opportunities. This will allow us to create another stream of revenue and build our brand exposure while we are unable to run our cultural tours this year,” says Dennis Thomas, senior Business Development manager of Takaya Tours, a stakeholder of ITBC.