Dancers entering the hall at the Delta Grand Hotel during the grand entry procession of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on Nov. 13. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

Province commits to supporting Indigenous tourism growth in B.C.

The Indigenous Tourism Accord signed during conference in Kelowna

A new partnership between the provincial government and Indigenous Tourism BC will help create opportunities for people and tourism businesses in the province.

The partnership was created during a tourism conference in Kelowna where Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare and Indigenous Tourism BC chair Brenda Baptiste signed the Indigenous Tourism Accord.

The accord highlights a commitment to work together in areas such as skills development, Indigenous cultures, protocols and languages revitalization as well as have more collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators.

“Indigenous tourism supports good jobs and economic development in communities across the province and provides opportunities for locals and visitors to learn about Indigenous culture and history,” said Beare.

To help grow the tourism sector the B.C. government announced $440,000 to conduct labour market research and develop an Indigenous tourism labour market strategy to address skills training for tourism operators and businesses.

Indigenous Tourism BC will lead this work through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training’s Sector Labour Market Partnership Program.

“Strategic and respectful Indigenous tourism development not only provides economic benefits through employment and entrepreneurship but also grants visitors unique opportunities to learn about local history and culture,” explained Baptiste. “The Indigenous Tourism Accord marks an important step towards facilitating competitiveness of our province’s Indigenous businesses, thereby contributing to a more vibrant and well-represented tourism industry.”

According to the province, Indigenous tourism contributes $705 million a year to B.C.’s economy, employing 7,400 people in more than 400 businesses.

READ MORE: Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association cited for responsible tourism again

READ MORE: World’s largest Indigenous tourism conference hits Kelowna


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