March 13, 2018, Treaty 6 Territory (Saskatoon, SK) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is happy to celebrate the announcements today by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to support and develop Indigenous tourism growth in western Canada.

The investments announced today are part of the Western Diversification Program (WDP), the main program through which WD makes strategic investments in initiatives that enhance and strengthen the economy of western Canada.

$220,000 will be allocated to ITAC to support the development of Indigenous tourism associations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba as a part of the ITAC Five Year Plan. ITAC research from 2015 showed that provinces which have Indigenous tourism associations have a much larger and more robust Indigenous tourism industry. Creating and supporting the development of provincial Indigenous tourism associations is a key pillar for ITAC.

“We are pleased that the Government of Canada not only shares our vision to grow the Indigenous tourism industry through projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, but sees how these investments can really make a difference for Indigenous business growth,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “Our national strategy aims to have increased the annual Canadian GDP by $300 million through Indigenous tourism and getting 50 new Indigenous tourism operators export-ready by 2021, and the growth opportunities for Indigenous tourism must be supported.”

The funding will include projects such as regional consultation sessions, writing strategic plans and marketing materials for provincial groups, creating and developing strategic development plans specific to the region, and growing the local involvement and opportunities at the 2018 International Indigenous Tourism Conference, set to be hosted this fall on Treaty 6 Territory, in Saskatoon, SK.

In addition to the funding announcement for ITAC, a total of 45 organizations will receive dollars through the Indigenous Economic Growth Fund. ITAC congratulates our member, Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority for successfully applying for $550,026 to expand and establish exhibit galleries.

“Wanuskewin is thrilled to be the recipient of funding through the Western Diversification Program (WDP),” says Dana Soonias, CEO of Wanuskewin Heritage Park. “A commitment of $550,026 will support Wanuskewin Heritage Park’s expansion through the establishment of new exhibit galleries. Western Economic Diversification’s commitment to supporting Indigenous initiatives helps to build a strong and inclusive community for everyone.”

For more information, visit

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) works to improve the socio-economic condition of Aboriginal people through the provisions of economic development advisory services, tourism conferences, capacity development training and workshops, industry research and information for Aboriginal 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 Aboriginal tourism industry in Canada and works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. The ITAC Board is made up of Aboriginal tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit


Media contacts:
Brian Cant, Beattie Tartan: 250-592-3838, 250-888- 8729 (cell) or
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada: 604-639-4408 or

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