Province commits funding for Aboriginal tourism

by aanationtalk on April 5, 2013613 Views

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2013

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

Osoyoos – The Province of British Columbia has provided $1 million to support the growth of Aboriginal tourism in B.C.

The funding will go directly to the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (AtBC) to support their ongoing marketing strategy, Citizens’ Services and Open Government Minister Ben Stewart announced at the National Aboriginal Tourism Opportunities Conference in Osoyoos today.

As of April 1, provincial tourism marketing will become the responsibility of Destination British Columbia, a new industry-led, formula-funded Crown corporation. Future funding for all tourism marketing partnerships will be under their purview.

According to an interim evaluation report prepared by Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Tourism Policy and Research, the following results were achieved during AtBC’s previous 5-year strategy:

  • Overall incidence of travelers in B.C. experiencing Aboriginal tourism attractions / products / services increased from about 13 per cent to an estimated 22 per cent.
  • Estimated 3.7 million tourists experienced some form of Aboriginal tourism (e.g., attractions, products, services, events, etc.) as part of their provincial trips in 2010. This represents an almost doubling (97 per cent) of estimated 2006 visit levels.
  • Estimated Aboriginal tourism expenditures in B.C. reached about $40 million in the 2010 Olympic year. This represents a 6 per cent increase over estimated 2009 levels and a doubling (100 per cent) over 2006 levels.
  • Based on overall visitor expenditure estimates, it is estimated that Aboriginal tourists contributed about $11.3 million in tax revenues to various levels of government in 2010.
  • An estimated 2,226 full-time equivalent jobs were collectively generated by Aboriginal tourism businesses in 2010, representing approximately a 32 per cent increase over those reported in 2006.

Aboriginal tourism is one of the key product priorities included in the B.C. government’s Tourism Strategy.


Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

“British Columbia’s Aboriginal history and culture are vital to our province’s social tapestry. In a time of fierce tourism competition from around the world, B.C.’s Aboriginal experiences are a very special product that put us ahead of the pack. Our government believes that Aboriginal tourism is a key part of B.C.’s tourism success, and we are pleased to support their marketing strategy.”

Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens Services and Open Government

“I am often struck by how privileged we are to live in a part of the world with such deep and fascinating cultural roots. I’m delighted that AtBC is continuing their strategy for growth, and am confident they will be as successful as in the past in drawing more tourists to our wide variety of Aboriginal experiences.”

Keith Henry, CEO, Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC

“The partnership and commitment with the Province of B.C. is critical to sustainability and future growth in the Aboriginal cultural tourism industry. AtBC continues to be a proud partner with the Province in an effort to continue the remarkable growth of the Aboriginal cultural tourism industry. The future of tourism for all of B.C. will continue to benefit by working together to provide visitors unique world-class experiences that recognize the authenticity and stories of the Aboriginal people. This announcement today continues our important work moving forward.”

Andrea Shaw, chair, Destination British Columbia board of directors

“Aboriginal tourism represents an incredible growth opportunity for our industry. It’s important that we continue to support experiences in which visitors have the opportunity to experience B.C.’s Aboriginal roots. Whether it’s enjoying Klahowya Village in Stanley Park or participating in a ceremony in the Okanagan, B.C.’s Aboriginal tourism experiences help us define our unique culture to the rest of the world.”

Media Contact:

Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 356-8177


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