December 5, 2017, Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) announces that it has renewed and grown the Product Development Fund program which supports Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada.
The program, originally implemented in 2016, has been renewed for 2017, and this year has received over 120 applications from all provinces and territories, which exceeded $1.2 million in total requests. ITAC’s Product Development Fund is a program which responds directly to the demonstrated need of the support which is needed to guide and prepare Indigenous tourism businesses to reach a market-ready state and develop sustainable growth for economic success. Based on the demand, ITAC has announced that this year’s fund distribute a total of $418,000, a significant increase from the $130,000 distributed in 2016. This year’s funds will assist a total of 65 Indigenous tourism businesses representing every province and territory in Canada.
“We’ve had an opportunity this past year to see the positive impact this Product Development Fund has provided to numerous Indigenous tourism businesses across the country,” says Keith Henry, President and CEO of Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “The volume and diversity of applicants speaks to the importance of this program and valuable support that it offers Indigenous business owners and communities”
The applicants to the 2017 Product Development Fund requested funding assistance for various areas of business development including staff training, website upgrades, infrastructure upgrades, expanding current offerings, administrative and financial advisory assistance, marketing and sales planning, business planning, business assessment, and health and safety equipment, to name a few. The goal of the project is to provide assistance which will help prepare Indigenous tourism businesses reach market or export readiness.
Past successes of this program from 2016 include a new tradeshow booth for Wikwemikong Tourism in Ontario, a new website for Shakat Tun Adventures in Yukon, a kitchen installation at Painted Warriors in Alberta and traditional tools for creating a dugout canoe at Quaaout Lodge in British Columbia.
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 and must be invested by the funding recipients by March 31, 2018.
About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) was formally established as a national non-profit Indigenous tourism industry organization in 2015. Today, ITAC includes representation from 15 Indigenous tourism industry representatives and organizations. Through a unified Indigenous tourism industry voice, ITAC focuses on creating partnerships between associations, organizations, government departments and industry leaders from across Canada to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada. For more information, visit www.indigenoustourism.ca.