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Growing Indigenous tourism in Alberta

Press Release

As part of the plan to help the tourism sector recover, Alberta’s government is increasing funding to support Indigenous tourism experiences across the province.

As part of Budget 2021, government is providing funding over the next three years to Indigenous Tourism Alberta to help grow Indigenous tourism businesses across the province. This funding will help Indigenous entrepreneurs expand their skills, leading to new business development and employment, particularly in Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous tourism is an important part of our economic recovery. This funding is a tremendous opportunity to create jobs in Indigenous tourism experiences, which in turn will help the overall economy of the province.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“This is great news and will help showcase the incredible culture and history of First Nations and Métis communities across the province. Visitors to Alberta want an authentic Indigenous experience, and this will generate more interest and attract people from all over the world. From trying Métis feasts to paddling in guided canoe trips to camping in teepees, this will help grow Indigenous tourism businesses across the province. This increase in funding will bring more people to Alberta and will lead to new business development and employment in Indigenous communities. Indigenous tourism is a critical piece of the economic recovery across Alberta.”

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“This funding will play an important role in helping the economic recovery of an industry that has been heavily impacted over the past year. As we look towards the future of tourism in Alberta, Indigenous tourism is a critical piece to its recovery and these funds will help contribute to its recovery and ultimately its growth.”

Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta

“Indigenous Tourism Alberta is committed to supporting our members and creating a vibrant and growing Indigenous tourism sector in Alberta. Ongoing support from the Alberta government will allow us to stabilize our industry and help our members to recover and grow over the next three years.”

Brenda Holder, chair, Indigenous Tourism Alberta

“Our partnership with Indigenous Tourism Alberta to create new, authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across the province is one of the more significant initiatives we will be rolling out over the next three years to rebuild Alberta’s visitor economy. It represents one of the largest investments in Indigenous tourism in Canada and is an important part of reconciliation. It will be especially critical as we return to promoting Alberta to international markets. International visitors are big fans of authentic culture as part of the experiences they engage in when they are here.”

Linda Southern-Heathcott, chair, Travel Alberta

As part of this funding, Travel Alberta and Indigenous Tourism Alberta have signed a three-year partnership agreement. This partnership supports reconciliation, Indigenous tourism businesses and helps position Alberta as the premier destination for Indigenous tourism in Canada.

As many as one in three visitors to Canada are seeking an authentic Indigenous experience during their visit. Alberta is situated in the territories of Treaties 6, 7 and 8, as well as the homeland of the Métis people, giving visitors to the province the unique opportunity to engage in authentic, sustainable and culturally rich Indigenous experiences.

Quick facts

  • As part of Budget 2021 through Travel Alberta, Indigenous Tourism Alberta will receive:
    • $1.2 million in 2021-22
    • $1.25 million in 2022-23
    • $1.3 million in 2023-24
  • Pre-COVID, Indigenous tourism in Alberta was worth an estimated $166.2 million in gross domestic product while creating 3,000 jobs provincewide.

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