B.C. Indigenous Tourism Accord signed in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. Indigenous Tourism Accord signed in Kelowna

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Indigenous tourism generates $705 million a year for B.C.'s economy and to grow that number, the B.C. government and Indigenous Tourism BC have signed a deal to work more closely together.

"Indigenous tourism supports good jobs and economic development in communities across the province and provides opportunities for locals and visitors to learn about Indigenous culture and history," Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said in a press release.

"I am proud to reaffirm our commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC through the Indigenous Tourism Accord, as we continue on the path toward reconciliation and create a better future for everyone in our province."

The Indigenous Tourism Accord, signed at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna on Nov. 14, 2019, outlines a commitment to work together in areas such as:

  • skills development;
  • revitalization of Indigenous cultures, protocols and languages;
  • better co-operation across provincial ministries; and
  • more collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators.

"Strategic and respectful Indigenous tourism development not only provides economic benefits through employment and entrepreneurship but also grants visitors unique opportunities to learn about local history and culture,"  Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC said.

"The Indigenous Tourism Accord marks an important step towards facilitating (the) competitiveness of our province's Indigenous businesses, thereby contributing to a more vibrant and well-represented tourism industry."

To prepare for growth in this sector, the B.C. government is also investing $440,000 to conduct labour market research and develop an Indigenous tourism labour market strategy that will address skills training for tourism operators and businesses in Indigenous communities. Indigenous Tourism BC will lead this work through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training's Sector Labour Market Partnership Program.

Indigenous tourism contributes $705 million a year to B.C.'s economy and employs 7,400 people in more than 400 businesses. Around 7.2 million visitors are expected to engage in Indigenous tourism experiences over the next two years from the top five markets for Indigenous tourism in Canada (Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and China).

To learn more about the Strategic Framework for Tourism in B.C. and read the Indigenous Tourism Accord in full, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/tourism-resources/bcs-tourism-framework.

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