President and CEO Keith Henry to outline efforts for increased stimulus funding for ITAC members.

April 7, 2020, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, BC – Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) will be hosting an important Facebook Live update for all members at 12:00 p.m. PST or 3:00 p.m. EST.

During the Facebook live, Keith Henry will discuss his upcoming presentation before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance this Wednesday, April 8, 2020 that addresses the COVID-19 impacts on Indigenous tourism as a critical component of Canada’s tourism industry.

Henry will also outline the latest on the Federal Government’s Economic Stimulus solutions and ITAC’s work on ensuring sufficient funding and Indigenous-led solutions, such as the current COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund Application, are being offered to Indigenous tourism members. He will help Indigenous operators focus on what they can access now and how they can help ITAC convey the importance of additional funding for the Indigenous tourism industry.

“We have been in contact with our members and are hearing first hand the immediate negative impacts that COVID-19 has had on their businesses and what is needed to help them survive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our survey and please continue to provide us with this invaluable information as it is critical for our advocacy to continue,” says Henry.

While ITAC recognizes the hard work being done by Federal policy workers on stimulus funding, challenges to Indigenous tourism communities and businesses can not be ignored:

  • Many Indigenous tourism businesses do not work with major banks and institutions that are implementing these specific programs.
  • Obtaining loans for Indigenous tourism businesses on reserves requires other legal steps such as Band Council Resolutions which will be a significant barrier.
  • Wage subsidies could help some Indigenous tourism businesses, but many do not have a payroll of the minimum $50,000 as they are sole proprietors or only have seasonal staff.
  • Some of the policies require showing a 30% loss of revenue which many Indigenous tourism businesses cannot yet show as their seasons are beginning in April and May.

“I continue to meet daily if not hourly with our Federal government officials, addressing the challenges for Indigenous tourism operators and businesses,” says Henry. “We are making progress which I will report on today.

For those unable to attend the Live update, a recording will be available on ITACs COVID-19 updates page along with more information and resources.

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