Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, BC —  The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is thrilled to announce a $10 million investment from the Government of Canada through its Indigenous Tourism Fund.  

Budget 2022 announced $20 million over two years in support of a new Indigenous Tourism Fund to help the Indigenous tourism industry recover from the pandemic and position itself for long-term, sustainable growth. The Indigenous Tourism Fund is delivered through two $10 million streams: This investment is from the Stream 2-Micro and Small Business Stream to build capacity of Indigenous tourism micro and small businesses to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and grow. ITAC will deliver the Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream.

“This substantial investment from the Government of Canada marks a pivotal moment for partnering to grow Indigenous tourism in Canada. Funding provided through Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream will empower Indigenous tourism operators to enhance their offerings, elevate their businesses, and provide unforgettable and authentic tourism experiences to visitors in Canada and worldwide.” 

– Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC.

The Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream: Indigenous Tourism Operators Success in Mind

At the core of this significant investment is the highly anticipated Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream, and the intake is now open to accept applications. Its primary goal is to empower Indigenous tourism operators in Canada to meet Market Ready standards (as outlined through our Original Original Accreditation Program) and thrive in the ever-evolving tourism landscape. With the support of this program, Indigenous tourism businesses will have the opportunity to secure up to $25,000 in funding per business.

How It Works

The Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream strategy is to engage Indigenous tourism operators in a collaborative process. Indigenous-led businesses are asked to identify projects and areas of improvement within their operations. These projects must align with the gaps identified through The Original Original accreditation process. ITAC then provides guidance and support, ensuring that operators are equipped with the knowledge and resources to succeed. 

The Original Original Accreditation Program

A cornerstone of the Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream is The Original Original Accreditation Program. This accreditation program is a first-of-its kind and comprehensive initiative designed to identify areas where Indigenous tourism operators can enhance their offerings and provide authentic experiences to visitors. By adhering to ISO standards, Indigenous-led businesses can distinguish themselves as leaders in Indigenous tourism by receiving The Original Original mark of excellence!

Tools That Help Operators Get Accredited

Encountering difficulties while trying to complete your application? The association has developed two valuable resources to assist you: The Original Original Business Development Toolkit and The Original Original Virtual Workshop Series. Watch your inbox for the weekly ITAC newsletter for the schedule of this upcoming bilingual webinar series. 

Advancing Indigenous Tourism 

As these businesses grow and flourish, they will contribute to their communities’ economic well-being and share the rich Indigenous cultures, traditions, and stories that make Canada so unique to national and international travellers.

ITAC is grateful for the support from the Government of Canada, recognizing the immense potential of Indigenous tourism to drive economic reconciliation and cultural understanding. Together, the association and the federal government are supporting a growing future for Indigenous tourism in Canada, one where Indigenous businesses thrive, and visitors from around the world gain a deeper appreciation for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples that have shaped the fabric of this land for time immemorial.  

Questions and Support

ITAC is delighted to collaborate with its respective Provincial and Territorial Indigenous Tourism Associations, extending support to members from coast to coast to coast. We aim to offer expert guidance and assistance, ensuring operators are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to thrive.

If you have questions about the Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream, or need help getting your application completed, please email Michelle Brown, ITAC Business Support Coordinator at Michelle@IndigenousTourism.ca

You also have the option to contact your respective Provincial/Territorial Indigenous Tourism Organization.