VANCOUVER — Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) research shows that Indigenous tourism in British Columbia is growing.
ITBC launched a project in November 2019 in response to a critical labour shortage and growing demand for labour in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous-tourism industry. This project is funded by the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada through the Sector Labour Market Partnerships program.
“Indigenous Tourism is one of the fastest-growing parts of the tourism sector and we want to ensure businesses have people to do the work so they can continue to grow,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Creating tools to attract, train and retain Indigenous people to obtain critically important jobs in the tourism sector can advance economic and cultural reconciliation and increased understanding for our culture and practices by visitors near and far.”
The research report follows the Literature review, which summarizes studies and research on the Indigenous tourism labour force and shows there were 488 Indigenous-tourism businesses in B.C. in early 2020, employing more than 4,000 individuals.
“We were preparing for continued growth with this project when the global COVID-19 pandemic was announced. In the footsteps of our ancestors, we shifted our focus to strategies to support Indigenous people and Indigenous-tourism businesses to navigate the pandemic and devastating impacts on the tourism industry,” says Brenda Baptiste, chair ITBC.