Industry Leaders Launch Program To Support Truth & Reconciliation
Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and tourism leaders from Westjet, Airbnb and Rocky Mountaineer, announced today the launch of the Indigenous Tourism Destination Fund (ITDF).
The ITDF is expected to be a game changer for Indigenous tourism in Canada –both as a way to invest in the continued growth of the industry and as a model for the development of Indigenous tourism, Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs worldwide.
It will also bring ITAC one step closer to its ambitious goal of Canada becoming a world leader in Indigenous tourism, seeking to raise $2.6 billion over seven years, and to accelerate the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada by tripling the direct GDP contributions from approximately $1.9 billion in 2019 to $6.0 billion by 2030.
The new funding model invites the entire tourism industry to participate and support progress towards realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #92: by ensuring Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic activities taking place on their lands.
The ITDF program will offer a new way for travellers, Indigenous businesses, and non-Indigenous tourism companies to participate and support Indigenous tourism by providing an optional fee to guests to support the fund, similar to the destination marketing fees hotels use to support their local visitor Destination Marketing Organizations across Canada.
Early adopters, such as Rocky Mountaineer, Airbnb, WestJet, Coast to Coast Experiences and other Indigenous tourism businesses will support ITAC’s ambitious goals of having Canada become the world leader in Indigenous tourism by 2030.
ITAC has created an internal investment strategy to support the creation of 800 new Indigenous tourism businesses and increasing employment by 21,000 jobs with targets for every Province and Territory. Participating partners and consumers will ensure Indigenous tourism can grow through:
- Infrastructure and Destination Development Fund
- Sustainable Tourism Workforce Fund
- Develop and Promote Tourism Assets Fund
- Market Indigenous Tourism for Major Sporting Events Fund
Already, seven Indigenous tourism businesses have joined the program and include: Mahikan Trails, AB; Cape Croker Park, ON; Red Bank Lodge, NB; Metepenagiag Heritage Park, NB; Aqsarniit Hotel, NU; Wapusk Adventures, MB and Bastien Industries, QC