Federal government invests to strengthen Indigenous tourism and create middle class jobs

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Indigenous tourism is a focal point of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy

May 22, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

The history and contributions of Indigenous peoples are deeply embedded in Canada’s identity. Very few countries have the authentic cultural experiences that Indigenous peoples here willingly share with visitors. Roughly one third of all international tourists who have considered visiting Canada say they are interested in Indigenous cultural experiences.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced an investment of $2.5 million in several projects to be implemented in partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC).

Funding for these projects is provided through the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), which was created to support Canadian businesses and organizations seeking to create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences. The CEF is part of Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy unveiled yesterday by Minister Joly. The goal of the Strategy is to empower communities of all sizes to help grow tourism in Canada and create good jobs for the middle class.

Tourism is steadily becoming an important economic contributor to, and job creator for, Indigenous communities across the country. The Canadian Experiences Fund will help Indigenous peoples present their histories, traditional stories, creative arts and contemporary values to the world, while creating new economic opportunities. It will support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada and address the demand for market development and export-ready authentic Indigenous experiences.

The Federal Tourism Growth Strategy’s targets are to increase tourism revenues by 25% by 2025 and to ensure that growth in the visitor economy will outpace the growth of the national economy, while creating 54,000 new jobs. Also, the Strategy will measure international visitor arrivals during the winter and shoulder seasons to gauge their increase and measure tourism revenue beyond the three big cities of Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, where tourism activity is currently concentrated.

“More and more travellers are coming to Canada to experience Indigenous cultures and heritage-so much so that Indigenous tourism is outpacing the growth of the sector overall. There are examples across the country of communities that have transformed their economies through tourism. We want to help Indigenous communities across the country build on their rich traditions to grow their tourism sector and create good jobs for middle class families.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“In the past few years, ITAC has delivered tremendous results at a time when demand for Indigenous tourism is gaining interest. This funding will help Indigenous tourism operators get ready to welcome more tourists from Canada and abroad. We look forward to offering a variety of authentic products and experiences to all so they will enjoy their visit and return again and again.”

– Keith Henry, President and CEO, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

Quick facts

  • Tourism represents more than 2% of Canada’s gross domestic product.

  • Tourism supports more than 1.8 million jobs in Canada.

  • The Canadian Experiences Fund is part of Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. It supports the growth of Indigenous tourism and will help showcase Canada’s Indigenous culture and heritage.

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