(Treaty 7 Territory Calgary, Alberta) – Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA), with a mandate to grow the Indigenous tourism economy in Alberta, announces federal funding from Western Economic Diversification supporting Indigenous tourism growth in Alberta.
On August 8, 2019, Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced $1 Million in funding over two years through the Regional Innovation Ecosystem program stream for Indigenous Tourism Alberta to deliver programs that promote, strengthen, and grow the Indigenous tourism industry in Alberta. Activities include developing and delivering multiple Community Tourism Readiness programs, Alberta Indigenous Tourism summits, and Cultural Awareness Programs.
“Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of Canadian identity, and a key part of western Canada’s economic prosperity,” noted McCrimmon. “Today’s investments will ensure through increased cultural awareness and access to new skills and resources, Indigenous Peoples can fully participate in the economy and strengthen their communities.
These projects are expected to develop, maintain or expand Indigenous tourism businesses, create new jobs, and train Indigenous persons in tourism industry skills and business development.
Participating in the announcement was Tarra Wright Many Chief, the Executive Director of Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA). She spoke on behalf of ITA thanking Western Economic Diversification and described some of the programs and projects this funding will help support over the next two years. In supporting Indigenous tourism, it grows the opportunity to help educate visitors to the diverse Indigenous cultures across Alberta. Visitors can discover traditional knowledge and cultural practices in an authentic way from Indigenous-owned tourism operators and businesses while supporting Indigenous economic development.
“We are incredibly pleased to be working with the Government of Canada to support authentic Indigenous tourism in Alberta,” stated Wright Many Chief. “The key to success for the future of Indigenous tourism is the ability to foster and build collaborative relationships with key partners. This partnership supports Indigenous Tourism Alberta’s mission to provide leadership in the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences in this growing industry.”
“Supporting Indigenous cultural awareness, skills training and business growth is essential to building a strong, innovative and inclusive Canadian economy,” remarked Minister Bains. “I am proud the Government of Canada is investing in Indigenous Peoples, removing barriers to their success, and making it easier to capitalize on Indigenous tourism, employment and economic opportunities.”
About Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Incorporated in 2018 as a not-for-profit society, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) provides leadership in the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across Alberta through innovative partnerships. The ITA board consists of 7 board members representing Indigenous tourism businesses from across Alberta. Indigenous tourism currently generates $130 million in spending in Alberta, providing jobs and supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and communities.