2019-2020 Remembered as one of the most exciting and challenging for the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Year-End Report Released

COAST SALISH TERRITORY (Vancouver, BC) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada released its year-end report this week, reflecting on a year of growth and acceleration which abruptly ended with the global pandemic.

In 2019, Indigenous tourism celebrated another strong tourism season which resulted in increased domestic and international sales, more employment opportunities within Indigenous tourism owned businesses, new Indigenous tourism business startups attracting investments, and the roll-out of several new government and private sector partnerships.

“We believe that Indigenous tourism reached a new economic record worth an estimated 2 billion in direct GDP for the first time ever, “ says President and CEO Keith Henry. “However, starting in January Indigenous tourism started to face significant new challenges, not the least being the evolution of COVID-19, so we quickly responded with resource and recovery programs.”

Despite these setbacks, highlights for 2019/20 include:

  • A pre-Covid survey had 49 percent of ITAC members say that traveller visitation was up in 2019, with 37 percent indicating traveller spend also increased. Corresponding to ITAC’s marketing efforts visitors from the US, France, UK, Germany, Australia and within Canada were the travellers driving this growth;
  • ITAC membership grew over 33 percent year over year;
    ITAC delivered the world’s largest Indigenous tourism conference in Kelowna with the 8th International Indigenous Tourism Conference;
  • ITAC launched Project Rise to support certification of Indigenous Market/Export ready businesses;
  • ITAC completed new Indigenous Provincial/Territorial strategies in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland/Labrador;
  • The ITAC team created a new marketing vision led by the brand Destination Indigenous;
  • A new private-sector partnership was launched with Westjet Airlines.

2019-2020 was also a year where ITAC’s financial management was strong, and the reinvestment plan implemented in its 2018/2019 fiscal year was maintained. ITAC also created new revenue sources by securing additional funding through International projects in Chile, Australia, Columbia and Mexico, plus new private sector partnerships which led to a balanced budget with re-invest commitments maintained.

ITAC’s 2019-2020 year-end report may be found here.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is the lead organization tasked with growing the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with other groups and regions with similar mandates. By uniting the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, ITAC works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. Prior to 2020, Indigenous tourism was outpacing Canadian tourism activity overall, and international demand for Indigenous experiences was at an all-time high. Due to COVID-19, ITAC recently released a report on the financial challenges facing Indigenous tourism operators and recommended stimulus solutions. As well, a 2020-2021 revised action plan focused on sustaining Indigenous tourism in the face of COVID-19 was released in March, which is now complemented by the 2020-2024 Recovery Strategy.

Media Contacts
Deirdre Campbell, Beattie Tartan

Keith Henry, CEO
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

French Media Requests
Sebastien Desnoyers-Picard, Chief Marketing Officer
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

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