OTTAWA, January 31, 2018 – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Ottawa Tourism are partnering in providing support through ITAC’s Tourism Development Funding Support Program, with the objective to support the ongoing development of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across Canada.

In an effort to foster product development of Indigenous tourism experiences in Canada’s capital, Ottawa Tourism is matching the ITAC funds awarded to a successful applicant within Regional Tourism Organization 10. Aboriginal Experiences, an Indigenous tourism attraction on Victoria Island, located in the middle of the Ottawa River has been named as the recipient and is being awarded a combined $20,000 funding investment from ITAC and Ottawa Tourism.

“Ottawa Tourism is eager for the reintroduction of Aboriginal Experiences as an important Indigenous tourism experience, welcoming all types of travelers in the nation’s capital,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “We have a high level of confidence in the vision of ITAC to be a catalyst for Indigenous experience development across Canada, and we know that we are uniquely positioned in Canada’s capital to foster and contribute to that vision. We look forward to actioning more initiatives to foster Indigenous tourism development in Ottawa in 2018.”

There were more than 120 applicants to the 2017/18 ITAC Product Development Fund who requested funding assistance for various areas of business development. The 65 projects approved this year include support for 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 ITAC Product Development Fund is to provide assistance which will help prepare Indigenous tourism businesses reach market or export readiness.

“We have had an opportunity this past year to see the positive impact the ITAC 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.”

Aboriginal Experiences will use the funding to add infrastructure that will allow the attraction to reopen its doors to the general public, after years of limited access due to losses incurred from fire and flooding. For many years, Aboriginal Experiences operated as a group-only attraction between the months of May and October. With this new investment, visitors and residents alike will have the opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture, food, customs, and the rich history of Victoria Island through a variety of engaging and authentic experiences. The island would also house a gift shop and an admittance area where visitors would be able to purchase tickets and receive information on the grounds.

By improving product and capacity development among partner and member organizations, the ITAC 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.

“We are excited and humbled by the confidence shown in Aboriginal Experiences by both ITAC and Ottawa Tourism,” says Trina Mather-Simard, President of Turtle Island Tourism Company, the parent company that owns Aboriginal Experiences. “This funding will allow us to undertake some much needed expansion for an admittance area to the general public arriving on Victoria Island. We look forward to unveiling the new space in the upcoming 2018 summer season and to sharing the rich and diverse culture of Indigenous nations in Canada with the public.”

About Ottawa Tourism
Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing, strategic direction, and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to offer the complete capital experience, tell the story of Canada and get people talking.

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 13 Indigenous tourism industry representatives and organizations representing every province and territory in Canada. 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.

About Aboriginal Experiences
Aboriginal Experiences, located in the heart of Ottawa, is an award-winning cultural attraction, operating on the historical and sacred Victoria Island on the shores of the Ottawa River. Since 2000, Aboriginal Experiences has invited visitors from around the world to learn more about the rich and diverse cultures of Canada’s Indigenous nations through interactive programs of crafts, food, traditional music and dance, and guided tours of historical displays. The attraction offers a Destination Canada Signature Experience which includes a voyageur canoe ride on the historic Ottawa River.


For interviews with Ottawa Tourism please contact:

Nives Scott
Corporate Communications Specialist, Ottawa Tourism
613-237-5150, ext. 131

For interviews with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada please contact:

Brian Cant, Beattie Tartan

Keith Henry, ITAC

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