Strengthening supports to grow Indigenous tourism in B.C.
SYILX TERRITORY/KELOWNA – A new partnership between the B.C. government and Indigenous Tourism BC will help grow opportunities for people and tourism businesses around the province.
“Indigenous tourism supports good jobs and economic development in communities across the province and provides opportunities for locals and visitors to learn about Indigenous culture and history,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “I am proud to reaffirm our commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC through the Indigenous Tourism Accord, as we continue on the path toward reconciliation and create a better future for everyone in our province.”
The Indigenous Tourism Accord, signed at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna on Nov. 14, 2019, outlines a commitment to work together in areas such as:
- skills development;
- revitalization of Indigenous cultures, protocols and languages;
- better co-operation across provincial ministries; and
- more collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators.
“Strategic and respectful Indigenous tourism development not only provides economic benefits through employment and entrepreneurship, but also grants visitors unique opportunities to learn about local history and culture,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “The Indigenous Tourism Accord marks an important step towards facilitating competitiveness of our province’s Indigenous businesses, thereby contributing to a more vibrant and well-represented tourism industry.”
To prepare for growth in this sector, the B.C. government is also investing $440,000 to conduct labour market research and develop an Indigenous tourism labour market strategy that will address skills training for tourism operators and businesses in Indigenous communities. Indigenous Tourism BC will lead this work through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training’s Sector Labour Market Partnership Program.
“I’m thrilled about the benefits and opportunities the Indigenous Tourism Accord will bring to communities throughout B.C.,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “This partnership is a direct call to action from Indigenous communities who are striving to drive economic prosperity closer to home. Our government is committed to supporting small businesses and Indigenous tourism operators with the training, skills and tools they need to thrive in B.C.’s tourism economy.”
- Indigenous tourism contributes $705 million a year to B.C.’s economy and employs 7,400 people in more than 400 businesses.
- 7.2 million visitors are expected to engage in Indigenous tourism experiences over the next two years from the top five markets for Indigenous tourism in Canada (Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and China).
- The Province provides additional supports to Indigenous tourism through:
- Indigenous co-management and presence in provincial parks;
- contract management of provincial recreation sites and trails;
- entrepreneur and management training at B.C. post-secondary institutions;
- destination development planning throughout B.C.;
- skills training programs; and
- marketing partnerships.
To learn more about the Strategic Framework for Tourism in B.C. and read the Indigenous Tourism Accord in full, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/tourism-resources/bcs-tourism-framework
Indigenous Tourism BC: www.indigenousbc.com
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Government Communications and Public Engagement