ITAC’s Product Development Fund is making a huge difference for Indigenous tourism operators from coast to coast to coast. From training a young person to guide visitors through ancient sites, to buying paddleboards, canoes or helping with down-payments on specialized snowmobiles for guests, we have put together a collection of success stories featuring 14 of our 2018 Tourism Development grant recipients from across Canada.
ITAC’s Product Development Fund is a program which responds directly to the demonstrated need of the support to guide and prepare Indigenous tourism businesses to reach a market-ready state and develop sustainable growth for economic success. By improving product and capacity development among partner and member organizations, the Product Development Fund forms part of ITAC’s strategic five-year plan, with a goal for 50 new market/export ready businesses by 2021. Funding for the initiative is supported by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
In 2017, ITAC awarded development grants totalling $418,000 to 65 Indigenous owned tourism businesses representing all 13 provinces and territories, a significant increase from the $130,000 distributed in 2016. The maximum grant was $10,000. This funding helps Indigenous entrepreneurs grow their tourism operations and enhance their communities—providing employment, enriching culture and revitalizing traditions. In the following pages, you’ll hear from business owners who share how these grants help them to overcome barriers, create viable businesses and grow the Indigenous tourism economy in Canada. Together, we aim to build a thriving industry that inspires visitors from around the world and those of us here at home.