VANCOUVER– Destination BC is providing $1.0 million in funding to the Indigenous Tourism Association of BC (ITBC) to create new products and experiences, and present them to the global market.
ITBC has led the way in solidifying BC’s position as a world leader in Indigenous Tourism, supporting the growth of the sector in a sustainable and meaningful way, and visitors to the province are taking note. Indigenous tourism celebrated a record-breaking year in 2017 after generating $705 million in gross domestic output for the province, and demand continues to rise.
There are currently 401 Indigenous tourism-related businesses operating in the province, up from 267 in 2014. Together, these businesses create more than 7,400 full-time jobs. Over the next two years, these businesses are expected to welcome 7.2 million visitors looking to engage with an Indigenous tourism experience.
Destination BC is committed to working together with ITBC to support the development and marketing of Indigenous tourism experiences to solidify BC’s already strong foundation for cultural tourism, to continue to attract visitors from around the world. Destination BC also continues to take a greater role in marketing Indigenous tourism so ITBC can increase its investments in product and experience development, training, and capacity building across the province.
In previous years, ITBC has used Destination BC’s funding to hire Indigenous tourism specialists in partnership with the Northern BC Tourism Association and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. These specialists work directly with Indigenous communities to develop tourism experiences and help meet the rising demand for Indigenous tourism in BC.
Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC
“The demand for Indigenous tourism experiences is on the rise. British Columbia is home to more than 200 First Nations, each with a unique culture and history, making our visitors appreciate the richness of our province’s Indigenous experiences. For over a decade, we’ve welcomed the opportunity to work with leaders at Indigenous Tourism BC to grow a sustainable Indigenous tourism industry.”
Brenda Baptiste, Director, Indigenous Tourism BC
“Since the inception of Indigenous Tourism BC, we’ve been working alongside Destination BC and the Province,and we look forward to continuing this partnership. Together, we can continue to build on the success of the past year while taking a moment to recognize and celebrate the hard work and ingenuity of BC’s Indigenous tourism operators.”
Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture
“British Columbia can proudly say we are leaders in Indigenous Tourism in Canada and I want to thank Indigenous Tourism BC for much of the great work to help put us there. We are so proud to continue to support this organization through Destination BC, and we look forward to watching this industry continue to grow and support our economy.”
About Indigenous Tourism BC
Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is a non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and co-operative marketing programs, ITBC is a one-stop resource for First Nations entrepreneurs and communities in British Columbia who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. ITBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help Indigenous tourism businesses in BC, to offer quality experiences and actively promotes these experiences to visitors and local residents. For more information, please visit: www.IndigenousBC.com
About Destination BC:
Destination BC is an industry-led Crown corporation that works collaboratively with tourism stakeholders across the province to coordinate marketing at the international, provincial, regional and local levels. For more information about Destination BC’s programs and services, please visit: www.DestinationBC.ca
Destination BC, Media Relations
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