Xwisten Experience Tours in Lillooet is one of the many Indigenous experiences in B.C. (Photo courtesy Indigenous Tourism BC.)

Xwisten Experience Tours in Lillooet is one of the many Indigenous experiences in B.C. (Photo courtesy Indigenous Tourism BC.)

B.C. announces $3.7M to help Indigenous tourism recover to pre-pandemic levels

Indigenous tourism was one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry prior to COVID

The province has allocated $3.7 million to support the Indigenous tourism industry get back to pre-pandemic levels of success by 2024.

Indigenous Tourism BC, the organization that represents Indigenous tourism businesses, will receive the funds and put them towards tourism planning, training and mentoring services for Indigenous communities and businesses.

“For the next two years, ITBC is committed to making choices that bring benefits to stakeholders and Indigenous communities to support the recovery and strengthen competitiveness for the future,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair of Indigenous Tourism BC.

READ MORE: Pandemic recovery for Indigenous tourism will be slow, says report

ITBC’s Tourism Alignment Strategy focuses on creating alignment of Indigenous, provincial, regional and federal partners so ITBC can continue to improve British Columbia’s collaborative tourism network and support the expansion of tourism business activities by Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities over the next two years.

Before the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing sector of the tourism industry, generating $705 million in gross domestic output and accounting for 7,400 full-time jobs.

Over 480 Indigenous tourism businesses operate in more than 200 First Nations in B.C. According to ITBC, 91 per cent of its stakeholders were closed or operating with limited capacity, and 74 per cent of Indigenous businesses had to lay off staff during the pandemic.

ITBC has previously been provided with $8 million in business recovery grants in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to provide direct support to Indigenous tourism businesses impacted by COVID.

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