ITBC Has A Plan To Empower Indigenous Tourism in BC 

Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) has released Strengthening Our Roots and Branches: Corporate Strategy 2023-2027 —  a five-year plan that is proactive to the increased interest in Indigenous tourism from Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs.

The strategy is committed to renewed partnerships, organizational structure and will focus on key areas that will create a healthy, sustainable and prosperous Indigenous cultural tourism sector in BC.

ITBC’s five-year plan intends to uplift Indigenous tourism in BC beyond full recovery from the pandemic, with dedicated measures to support the growth of Indigenous economies, increase the capacity and competitiveness of Indigenous businesses, execute a focused and insightful marketing strategy, accelerate experience development, establish a strong Indigenous tourism story, and strengthen ITBC leadership.

Brenda Baptiste, ITBC Chair, explained that: “The seed that became ITBC was planted almost 30 years ago. We are grateful for the nurturing and support of the Indigenous Peoples, partners, and allies who have helped us grow into a mighty tree. Now, it is time to strengthen our roots and branches to support Indigenous Stakeholders and our partners to take bigger steps forward, including building reconciliation and stewardship.”

During the three years of ITBC’s last corporate strategy, there were significant changes in the environment and ecosystem in BC, such as:

  • In 2019, The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Acts (Declaration Act) was unanimously passed by the BC Legislative Assembly
  • In March 2020, the pandemic hit, at a time when Indigenous Tourism was about to outpace non-Indigenous tourism
  • In May 2021, the Kamloops Indian Residential School findings were announced
  • In March 2022, the first Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act action plan was presented to create a better future for all generations to come.

These noteworthy activities inspired an increased public interest in Indigenous wellness and Indigenous tourism experiences, growing interest in tourism from Indigenous communities, and increased investment from federal and provincial governments.

Frank Antoine, ITBC Co-chair, pointed out that: “There is more work to do–we’re still growing. We’re creating an innovative organization and a powerful alliance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples to develop a system of support that upholds Indigenous-led plans for thriving communities, cultures, and lands. We want to embrace tourism as a means of empowerment and growth for Indigenous Peoples in BC.”

Paula Amos, ITBC Chief Marketing and Development Officer, said that: “Embracing the richness of Indigenous cultures, we unveil our corporate strategy for Indigenous tourism in BC. Together we are planning for the short-long term, while continuing to stay focused on our goals, asking the right questions from Indigenous peoples, and identifying opportunities that are innovative and position ITBC to be a competitive leader for Indigenous Tourism.”

Strengthening Our Roots and Branches: Corporate Strategy 2023-2027 seeks to achieve goals across four key areas of focus: leadership and organizational innovation, partnership and special projects, experience development, and marketing. While the plan is supported by a $30 million investment over five years from multiple partners, ITBC continues to look for and secure funding opportunities to address unfunded core budget items and project activities to solidify long-term financial security for Indigenous tourism in BC.

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