Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) will get $3.7-million from the provincial government to help industry operators cope with few tourists as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the government announced this afternoon.
Indigenous Tourism BC chair Brenda Baptiste told BIV after the announcement that her organization had been wanting the money, and is "incredibly grateful," to receive it.
The funding will help ITBC provide capital to Indigenous entrepreneurs to help them expand their ventures.
Victoria has already provided $8 million to ITBC for business recovery grants in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years, to provide direct support to Indigenous tourism businesses during the pandemic.
ITBC last year provided approximately $9 million to more than 200 Indigenous stakeholders to help them survive the pandemic, the organization told BIV in an email.
Baptiste said ITBC recently launched a grant program, called the B.C. Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund, which is set to provide grants up to $20,000 to Indigenous tourism businesses to help the owners cope, and recover from the slowdown in tourism.
Money will also go to what Baptiste said would be "business-development training, capacity building – all of the tools that they need to move forward to be successful." That includes mentoring services and upgrading digital marketing capacity. •