ITBC Unveils $6 Million Tourism Training Initiative

The $6 million Indigenous Tourism Training Initiative, led by Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) will support current and aspiring Indigenous tourism workers and employers by providing Indigenous-led and culturally focused training and educational opportunities.

Employers and people working in the Indigenous tourism sector will be able to grow their skills and education through new programs designed to attract and retain Indigenous tourism talent, develop careers, and strengthen the sector.

Lana Popham, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said that: “Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest growing sector in British Columbia’s tourism industry. People want to participate in authentic Indigenous experiences and have a deeper understanding of the people and places they visit. By supporting workforce training in Indigenous tourism, we’re ensuring people are trained in culturally appropriate ways and with the skills they need to help fill jobs in this fast-growing industry.”

Brenda Baptiste, Chair, Indigenous Tourism BC, said: “Indigenous Tourism BC is thrilled to receive this boost in funding and support for training initiatives, which will strengthen the industry and the provincial economy.”

Baptiste continued: “We look forward to ramping up this project as the training and development areas are crucial to our long-term plans and empowering Indigenous communities and people. We thank our partners for their commitment as we advance important economic opportunities, growth, and reconciliation.”

The Tourism Training Initiative will assist Indigenous communities, businesses, employees, and entrepreneurs to enhance their education and skills in Indigenous storytelling, marketing, social media, and workplace safety, and earn certifications required to work in the hospitality and tourism industry, including FOODSAFE and Serving It Right.

ITBC provides training, awareness, product development, and marketing to support a sustainable, authentic Indigenous cultural tourism industry in BC while contributing to cultural preservation and economic independence for Indigenous individuals, businesses, and communities in British Columbia.

Alison Evans, owner of Gulf Island Seaplanes, said: “ITBC has been integral in setting the path towards success for our expansion into the Vancouver Harbour. We have had one-on-one training, and advice in many areas to help build our skills in marketing, photography, social media, and event planning. We feel so supported as small business owners which is incredibly important, and it helps boost our confidence.”

With the support of its dedicated partners, ITBC continues to create new opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to pursue economic, social, and cultural development through tourism.

It is anticipated that more than 240 Indigenous tourism businesses will benefit from the Indigenous Tourism Training Initiative, including 45 communities and more than 1,400 people.

The funding will help build back a strong and diverse tourism workforce, make education and skills training affordable, and prioritize underrepresented populations, including Indigenous Peoples.

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