New Federal Initiatives Benefit Indigenous Tourism

The National Indigenous Tourism Conference in Calgary this week was the occasion for announcing two federal government initiatives that will have direct benefits for Indigenous tourism, reports western editor Ted Davis.

For one, over $1.3 million in federal funding by Prairies Economic Development Canada has been budgeted for Indigenous tourism organizations in Alberta.

These investments will be used to help Indigenous tourism firms adapt/develop unique experiences for attracting domestic and international visitors. The funding announcement comes at a key moment for all tourism stakeholders, as Canada and the world start on the road to economic recovery from Covid-19.

“We are mindful of the losses incurred by the pandemic,” said Randy Boissonnault, minister of federal tourism. Boissonnault brought the announcement to the National Indigenous Tourism Conference, ongoing through March 10. The conference started on March 8, drawing about 380 delegates, including ITAC member companies, tourism industry sponsors and DMOs from across Canada. They came to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary for the gathering.

The other federal announcement confirmed a commitment by Parks Canada to continue working in cooperation with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC).

Key reps for the two organizations met at the Indigenous tourism conference to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to extend the terms of their cooperation for another four years, from 2022 to 2025. The previous agreement had been in place since 2016.

The two will continue working together to develop, support and market authentic Indigenous tourism experiences that are closely connected to parks administered by Parks Canada. These experiences are based on traditional territories in and around Parks Canada lands.

The partnership will also support the recovery of the Indigenous tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.


PHOTO Caption

Randy Boissonnault, federal minister of tourism and associate minister of finance, at the National Indigenous Tourism Conference in Calgary this week.