Nine Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada are receiving grants of $10,000 as part of a strategic partnership between WestJet and the Indigenous Toursim Association of Canada (ITAC).
For the nine businesses, the grants come at a time when the Indigenous tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants were originally earmarked through the WestJet/ITAC strategic national partnership, signed in November 2019, and the 2020/2021 grant recipients include:
- Feast Café Bistro: Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Moonstone Creation: Calgary, Alberta
- Talaysay Tours: Vancouver, British Columbia
- Moccasin Trails: Kamloops, British Columbia
- Indigenous World Winery: Kelowna, British Columbia
- North Star Adventures: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Aurora Village: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Indigenous Experiences: Gatineau, Quebec
- Miqmak Catering Indigenous Kitchen: Roxboro, Quebec
The news was delivered to the grant recipients in March of this year and you can check out their reactions to the good news in the new “WestJet & ITAC: Supporting Indigenous Tourism In Canada” video:
Angela Avery, WestJet’s executive vice president, said: “We are pleased to be able to support these Indigenous businesses as they work their way to recovery. WestJet is a proud partner of ITAC, and is committed to advancing reconciliation by growing opportunities for indigenous entrepreneurs and sharing with the global travel industry the importance of Indigenous tourism, a unique, important and developing sector of Canadian tourism.”
Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC, said that: “WestJet has been an amazing partner for ITAC and a true advocate for Indigenous tourism in Canada, championing and collaborating on marketing campaigns, which provide much needed support to Indigenous tourism businesses during this difficult time.”
And Henry added: “WestJet has effectively engaged with Indigenous tourism businesses and communities and fully understands the importance of reconciliation and the layered, but necessary, path to achieve it.”
The WestJet/ITAC strategic national partnership is a three-year commitment that outlines how the airline will foster opportunities for Indigenous tourism by showcasing Indigenous People’s culture and history while bringing global audiences to take part in Indigenous tourism experiences.
This summer, WestJet and ITAC are encouraging Canadians to support local tourism organizations, including local Indigenous tourism businesses from coast to coast to coast, while following all public health and safety guidelines. Destination Canada has stated that if Canadians shift two-thirds of their planned spend on international leisure travel towards domestic tourism, it will make up for the estimated $19 billion shortfall currently facing our visitor economy and will help sustain 150,000 jobs while accelerating recovery by one year.
“The situation facing the travel and tourism industry overall has been devastating,” continued Avery. “We encourage Canadians to support Indigenous businesses in their communities and across the country when it is safe to do so.”
For more information about the nine recipients, please visit: www.westjet.com/en-ca/best-of-travel/indigenous-travel.
For more information about indigenous experiences across the country: visit http://www.destinationindigenous.ca/