Unceded/Unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinabeg Territory–Ottawa, ON–The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada  (ITAC) is proud to be a sponsor of Indigenous Tourism Day on Wednesday April 17, 2024, part of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) National Tourism Week 2024 held April 15-19 in Ottawa, ON. 

National Tourism Week is a dynamic, weeklong national social media campaign orchestrated by TIAC. This important event is a crucial platform for highlighting the pivotal role of tourism in Canada. TIAC, along with its supportive partners, invites all Canadians to celebrate the nation’s finest offerings to the world, under the inspiring banner of NTW 2024’s theme: Canada: Powered by Tourism. 

ITAC’s Director of Partnerships Teresa Ryder was in Ottawa on Monday, April 15, to join the evening reception hosted by TIAC to kick off celebrations at the Shaw Centre. In addition to all TIAC Members, invited guests included all Members of Parliament, Senators, as well as senior staff from all federal departments that play a role in tourism and travel.

“National Tourism Week 2024 is not just a celebration of destinations, but a recognition of the diverse tapestry of experiences that make up Canada. Indigenous tourism plays a pivotal role in this narrative, offering authentic cultural experiences enriching travellers and communities alike,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of ITAC. “Indigenous tourism’s contribution to the economy is crucial, fostering sustainable growth while preserving and showcasing the rich cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit across Canada.” 

At ITAC, the association’s commitment to fostering Indigenous tourism remains unwavering. Through several key initiatives, ITAC continues to lead and coordinate national efforts to nurture the growth and prosperity of Indigenous tourism in Canada.

The Indigenous Tourism Fund Micro and Small Business Stream funding program recognizes market readiness standards set by The Original Original Accreditation Program. It provides vital assistance to Indigenous tourism providers, thereby empowering them to flourish and make substantial contributions to local economies.

Furthermore, the Indigenous Tourism Destination Fund (ITDF) is ITAC’s primary focus as it endeavours to onboard Reconciliation Partners keen to collaborate with ITAC in advancing Indigenous tourism across the nation. The ITDF is a voluntary opt-in program where tourism businesses collect a small fee on behalf of their guests. Independent research has found that intentional travellers seek ways to invest in reconciliation in Canada but need a clearer understanding of how to do this; Indigenous tourism is seen as a catalyst for Truth and Reconciliation.  

Expanding upon the Truth2Action Training, ITAC, in partnership with Legacy Bowes, extends invitations to a broader spectrum of Destination Management Organizations and other non-Indigenous businesses and organizations within the tourism industry, fostering greater understanding and collaboration to further reconciliation. The Certificate in Reconciliation for the Tourism Industry aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #92 and industry best practices.

The economic impact of Indigenous tourism in Canada speaks volumes, with significant contributions to the nation’s GDP, employment sector, and revenue streams. As of 2019, the sector boasted over 39,000 workers and 1,900 Indigenous tourism businesses, contributing $1.9 billion annually to Canada’s direct GDP, $1.1 billion in wages and salaries, and $3.7 billion in revenue.

Furthermore, Indigenous tourism will directly contribute $800 million in tax revenues to all three levels of government in Canada in 2024, underscoring its pivotal role in national economic sustainability.

Partnering to nurture Indigenous tourism aligns with the strategic priorities outlined in Canada 365, the 2023 Federal Tourism Growth Strategy with ITAC’s ambitious 2030 Vision aiming to position Canada as the global leader in Indigenous tourism, government and industry’s collective efforts take on renewed significance and urgency.

As ITAC celebrates Indigenous Tourism Day at National Tourism Week 2024, ITAC reaffirms its commitment to fostering a tourism landscape that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability, enriching the fabric of Canada and showcasing Indigenous tourism in Canada’s boundless potential to the world. 

Download the Indigenous Tourism Fact Sheet for National Tourism Week 2024.