The Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) recently conducted research on the state of Indigenous tourism in Canada. The results showed that while 2021 saw modest gains as a sign of early recovery, the industry still projects a 54 per cent decline in direct GDP compared to pre-pandemic levels. Another study done using Destination Canada’s recovery model, projects that it will take until 2028 for Indigenous tourism to return to peak 2019 levels of employment and GDP.

Changes since 2019:

  • Prior to the 2019 pandemic, Indigenous tourism employed 38.9K employees, and brought in an estimated $1.86 billion in direct GDP
  • During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, Indigenous tourism dropped to 10.6K employees and contributed only $580 million in direct GDP
  • In 2021, Indigenous tourism employed 19.7K and provided an estimated $858 million in direct GDP

The report applies new information gathered from Indigenous tourism operators and ITAC’s members in spring/summer 2021 and reflects the deep and serious impact the pandemic has had on most businesses in the sector. Based on the CBOC research it is estimated that at least a third of Indigenous tourism businesses could still be at serious risk of closure in 2021-2022.

The Conference Board of Canada’s research can be viewed here.