Coast Salish Territories / Vancouver, BC (April 30, 2020): Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is releasing $300,000 in financial support for tourism businesses through the Emergency Relief Fund, a program that offers immediate finances to Indigenous businesses impacted by the global pandemic. A non-profit organization committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally-rich Indigenous tourism industry, ITBC is proud to support their community of Stakeholders through this funding and work towards a successful transition into recovery.
With COVID-19 drastically altering the travel landscape, tourism businesses across Canada have experienced unprecedented contraction and loss of revenues. ITBC’s Emergency Relief Fund redirects $300,000 earmarked for development and marketing towards assisting Indigenous businesses stay afloat and pivot towards a long-term recovery plan. To date, ITBC received applications from every tourism region in the province and is granting 71 businesses with emergency relief dollars.
“We are grateful to our partners – including the Province of BC, Destination BC, Indigenous Services Canada and Western Economic Diversification – for their ongoing investment in Indigenous tourism. The reallocation of funds will assist many Indigenous tourism businesses across the province,” says Brenda Baptiste, Chair of ITBC’s Board of Directors. “Despite the uncertainty arising from this pandemic, we are committed to supporting our Stakeholders and partners now and well into the future. By championing unity and practicing compassion, we will emerge stronger than ever.”
The grants will provide ITBC Market-Ready Stakeholder’s with up to $5,000.00 for immediate relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the allotment of Emergency Relief Fund dollars, ITBC has turned attention to assisting Stakeholders navigate and access government relief funds and grants.
“These funds have put us on the path for successful post-pandemic business recovery by supporting our efforts to explore and create new marketing, branding and merchandising opportunities. This will allow us to create another stream of revenue and build our brand exposure while we are unable to run our cultural tours this year,” says Dennis Thomas, Senior Business Development Manager of Takaya Tours, a Stakeholder of ITBC.
“The relief grant will provide us much needed financial support to invest in technology upgrades, such as a new website with online ordering. We are thrilled that this grant will allow us to hire back our staff members, and open up again to serve our customers,” adds Brenda Knights, ITBC Stakeholder and CEO of Lelem Hospitality.
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Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is a non-profit, Stakeholder-based organization committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and cooperative marketing programs, ITBC is a resource for Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities in BC who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. ITBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help BC’s Indigenous tourism businesses offer quality experiences and actively promote these experiences to visitors and local residents.
Paula Amos, Chief Marketing and Development Officer
Tewanee Joseph, Chief Governance and Partnership Officer