Indigenous tourism operators are getting a boost from the federal government thanks to a new funding stream being rolled out this year.
The Micro and Small Business Stream (MSBS) will provide direct financial assistance to Indigenous tourism operators. Through it, small Indigenous tourism businesses and organizations will have access to non-repayable contributions of up to $25,000, as well as help with accreditation and access to experts.
Federal tourism minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada announced the launch of the funding stream worth $10 million on Friday, Nov. 17, during a visit to the Sea to Sky. It is part of the $20 million Indigenous Tourism Fund (ITF) announced by the Government of Canada in Budget 2022.
The MSBS will be rolled out in partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.
“Indigenous tourism creates jobs and opportunities across the country, which is why the government is working with leaders and communities to encourage its growth in a way that is culturally appropriate and socially responsible,” the government said in a release.
“Supporting Indigenous tourism is also a central part of the government’s broader work to help Canadian tourism grow and thrive, and it is among the key priorities of the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. Most importantly, Indigenous tourism plays an important role in accelerating self-determination for communities and advancing reconciliation.”
Martinez Ferrada stressed the important role Indigenous tourism plays in advancing reconciliation.
“As travellers crave authentic experiences, Indigenous tourism businesses are perfectly positioned to thrive in the years to come,” she said in the release. “That’s why the growth of Indigenous tourism is one of my top priorities as minister. Today’s announcement means new, concrete support for the small businesses at the heart of this industry. We’ll keep working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis stakeholders to support Indigenous tourism because it creates jobs, advances self determination and helps us walk the road of reconciliation, together.”
More details on the MSBC funding stream can be found here.