$317,000 will be provided to 63 Indigenous-owned and controlled tourism businesses

December 4, 2018, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, BC – ITAC has announced its 2018 micro grant recipients as 63 Indigenous owned tourism businesses, representing 12 out of 13 provinces and territories across Canada. This year, ITAC is providing $317,000 to Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities growing their tourism operations and developing to higher levels of market readiness —providing employment in their communities, enriching culture and revitalizing Indigenous economic opportunity (full list attached).

“ITAC’s Product Development Fund is making a huge difference for Indigenous tourism operators from coast to coast to coast,” says President and CEO of ITAC, Keith Henry. “We’re seeing funds being invested in everything from training a young person to guide visitors through ancient sites, to helping with websites and marketing materials, to helping purchase a guest shuttle.”

ITAC’s Product Development Fund program responds directly to the demonstrated need of the support to guide and prepare Indigenous tourism businesses to reach a market-ready state while developing sustainable growth for economic success. This year, ITAC received funding requests from businesses which totalled more than $1.3M. All funded projects must be completed by March 31, 2019.

“The grant we received from ITAC was instrumental in helping us grow last summer, and we’re so grateful” says Jenifer Rudski, co-founder of Osha Osha, a Toronto-based stand up paddle boarding company and 2017 ITAC Product Development Grant recipient. “We want to create opportunities to connect people with the water and in this way also share our culture.”

This is the 3rd year of the ITAC Product Development Grant program, and to date the program has provided more than $850,000 to over 140 Indigenous tourism businesses located across Canada.

By improving product and capacity development among partner and member organizations, the Product Development Fund forms part of ITAC’s new strategic five-year plan (2019-2024), with a goal to grow the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada to more than $2.2B and support 200 export ready Indigenous tourism businesses in Canada by 2024. Funding for the initiative is supported by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. For more information, please see IndigenousTourism.ca/corporate/tourism-development-funding-support-program/

Click here to view a list of all Micro Grant Recipients. 

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) works to improve the socio-economic condition of Indigenous peoples through the provisions of economic development advisory services, tourism conferences, capacity development training and workshops, industry research and information for Indigenous tourism operators and communities within the 13 regions; 10 provinces and three territories of Canada. ITAC develops relationships with other groups and regions with similar mandates, uniting the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada and works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol.

ITAC also just released their brand-new experience guide, detailing Indigenous experiences across Canada, in which visitors can learn about the values of the respect, honour and integrity that guides our communities while discovering the traditional territories, history, people and culture that has been a part of our country for centuries. To download the full 2018/19 Guide to Indigenous Tourism in Canada go to: IndigenousTourism.ca/corporate/indigenous-tourism-experience-guide/.

The ITAC Board is made up of Indigenous tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit IndigenousTourism.ca.


Media contacts:
Jenna Hickman, Beattie Tartan: 250-592-3838, 250-215-8425 (cell) or jenna.hickman@beattiegroup.com
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada: 604-639-4408 or keith@indigenoustourism.ca