The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and tourism leaders from Westjet, Airbnb and Rocky Mountaineer, have launched the Indigenous Tourism Destination Fund (ITDF).
The ITDF is expected to be a game changer for Indigenous tourism in Canada — both as a way to invest in the continued growth of the industry and as a model for the development of Indigenous tourism, Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs worldwide. It will also bring ITAC one step closer to its ambitious goal of Canada becoming a world leader in Indigenous tourism, seeking to raise $2.6 billion over seven years, and to accelerate the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada by tripling the direct GDP contributions from approximately $1.9 billion in 2019 to $6.0 billion by 2030.
The new funding model invites the entire tourism industry to participate and support progress towards realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #92: by ensuring Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic activities taking place on their lands.
The ITDF program will offer a new way for travellers, Indigenous businesses, and non-Indigenous tourism companies to participate and support Indigenous tourism by providing an optional fee to guests to support the fund, similar to the destination marketing fees hotels use to support their local visitor Destination Marketing Organizations across Canada.
“We’re thrilled to announce this opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses to partner with ITAC and create strategies to attract new investments for Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada. By giving everyone a stake in our success, we’re able to move towards reconciliation together. Over the next seven years, Indigenous tourism can contribute $6 billion annually to Canada’s GDP, by investing in our shared-future, our partners can help make that a reality,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.