Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Minister Vandal announces federal funding to enhance Alberta’s Indigenous tourism economy

Press Release

From: Prairies Economic Development Canada

March 13, 2024

The Government of Canada is investing in the growth of tourism to support economic reconciliation and enable Indigenous communities on the Prairies to share their stories, traditions, and landscapes with visitors from across Canada and around the world. In Alberta, authentic Indigenous experiences and offerings are a key driver of the region’s tourism economy and support quality jobs in big cities and small towns alike.

Today the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, announced $4 million in federal funding for Indigenous Tourism Alberta to strengthen the ability of small- and medium-sized Indigenous tourism businesses to develop and market their products and offerings to a global audience.

As an Indigenous-led, not-for-profit industry association, Indigenous Tourism Alberta is well positioned to grow Indigenous tourism capacity and promote Alberta’s authentic Indigenous experiences.

Today’s investment will enable the organization to carry out several key activities, including:

  • Delivering a series of tourism product development workshops for Indigenous tourism operators in northern and southern Alberta.
  • Launching digital and in-person marketing campaigns targeting potential visitors from key markets such as Japan, Germany, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.
  • Establishing commercial relationships with travel wholesalers and distributors in key international markets to increase awareness of Alberta’s Indigenous tourism experiences and introduce authentic Indigenous tourism packages to travel retailers.
  • Strengthening networking and engagement among member organizations and the travel industry to identify and assess consumer trends and sales opportunities.

The collaborative nature of this initiative links to principles of the federal government’s new Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy which include advancing economic reconciliation. Over the next four years, this investment is expected to support the growth of about 165 small- and medium-sized Indigenous tourism businesses, assist in the creation and expansion of at least 10 new businesses, and support approximately 100 jobs.


“Alberta’s rich Indigenous history, culture and attractions are key contributors to the Prairies’ tourism sector and represent a tremendous opportunity to draw visitors and create jobs in communities across the province. Our government’s investment in Indigenous Tourism Alberta will help strengthen the capacity of small and medium-sized Indigenous tourism businesses to develop and share their products and offerings for the benefit of visitors from across Canada and around the world.”

–The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan

“A strong Indigenous tourism sector is an important part of creating new economic opportunities and jobs in communities throughout Alberta. I’m proud that our government is making this investment to enable Indigenous tourism operators to seize the increasing global demand for authentic Indigenous experiences while helping to promote reconciliation, education and awareness of the rich Indigenous culture and history that exists on the Prairies.”
–George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview

“Collaboration is key to successful partnerships. This investment with Indigenous Tourism Alberta via PrairiesCan demonstrates that working collaboratively across federal departments and bringing all stakeholders together is fundamental to success in the Indigenous tourism industry. Over two years, the working relationship with PrairiesCan leveraged funding of $2.25M from Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative. This funding will extend collaborative efforts supporting Indigenous Tourism Alberta in creating new employment opportunities, developing export businesses, and increasing Indigenous tourism experiences. We know that people from around the world are eager to experience Canada from an Indigenous viewpoint and I congratulate Indigenous Tourism Alberta on their commitment to ensuring that visitors to Alberta will have an opportunity to do so. The sharing of Indigenous cultural information and experiences is another step on the road of reconciliation.”
–The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

“This long-term investment in ITA by PrairiesCan is a big step forward for Indigenous tourism and will have positive benefits for ITA members for years to come. It will allow for long-term planning, expanded programming and consistent, predictable support for Indigenous entrepreneurs. This will, in turn, benefit Indigenous communities, help preserve culture and language, grow Indigenous-led businesses, and offer opportunities for reconciliation for Canadian and international travellers. This investment is a vote of confidence for our organization and for an industry on the rise.”
–Shae Bird, Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Tourism Alberta

Quick facts

  • Federal funding of $4 million for Indigenous Tourism Alberta is being provided through PrairiesCan’s Community Economic Development and Diversification (CEDD) program.
  • CEDD supports economic development initiatives that contribute to the economic growth and diversification of communities across the Prairie provinces.
  • Through this program, PrairiesCan enables communities to leverage their capacity and strengths to respond to economic development opportunities and adjust to changing and challenging economic circumstances.
  • The Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy is a long-term commitment to work differently, through stronger coordination among federal departments on investments for the Prairies and closer collaboration with Prairie partners on their priorities for a prosperous and sustainable Prairie economy that leaves no one behind.
  • This Framework is intended to encourage greater collaboration on investment opportunities, leverage additional funding, and attract new investments across the Prairies.
  • The Conference Board of Canada projects the Indigenous tourism sector will contribute more than $143 million annually to Alberta’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provide over 4,000 jobs within the province by 2026.

Associated links


Carson Debert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

Rohit Sandhu
Communications Manager
Prairies Economic Development Canada



NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More