Indigenous businesses and communities around the province have just gotten a big boost from the Canadian government: This month, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, announced a $2,250,000 investment in Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC).
AtBC has a multi-year plan called “Pulling Together” that maps out their strategy for drawing more and more visitors to B.C. to experience and understand our vast Indigenous heritage and culture.
“Indigenous tourism experiences offer visitors from around the world a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the rich, proud cultural heritage of the original peoples of this land,” said Chagger.
Additionally, AtBC and their programs create employment opportunities for members of indigenous communities, as well as a platform to cast a wider net to bring people here to check out what they have to share.
Not only does AtBC offer plentiful suggestions for places to visit and experience, they also create visitor packages of stays and activities and more.
Locally, businesses like Skwachays Lodge, Canada’s first Aboriginal art hotel in Vancouver, are part of visits, along with Talaysay Tours’ First Nations-led 90-minute ‘Talking Trees’ walking tour of Stanley Park. Travellers around B.C. will find Aboriginal experiences in the interior, on Vancouver Island, and in the South Okanagan’s wine country, among many others.
In 2017, 36 per cent of businesses in BC’s Indigenous tourism sector were retail, while 19 per cent were outdoor adventure, 17 per cent were accommodations and 12 per cent were attractions.
“The time is now for Indigenous people throughout BC to tell their story. We at Aboriginal Tourism BC, with the support of the Government of Canada, are in a position to lead and assist Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in sharing their story and welcoming the world into their communities,” said Brenda Baptiste, Chair, Aboriginal Tourism BC.