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Over 100 Businesses Supported by the Indigenous Tourism BC Emergency Relief Fund Program
The Indigenous Tourism BC Emergency Relief Fund Program was developed to support Indigenous tourism businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. A significant number of Indigenous businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector have been severely impacted by the travel restrictions, resulting in loss of revenue and loss of jobs.
From April to September 2020, Indigenous Tourism BC has released a total of $695,000 in emergency financial relief for Indigenous tourism businesses. In April, $300,000 was reprofiled from Indigenous Tourism BC’s development and marketing budget to support Indigenous-owned tourism businesses through the early crisis of COVID-19. Western Economic Diversification funded a second phase with $400,000, prioritizing Indigenous tourism businesses who were incurring business costs, despite having little or no revenue.
Throughout BC, the Emergency Relief Grant assisted seventy-two (72) Indigenous tourism businesses in the first phase. In the second phase, sixty-seven (67) businesses have been supported. There were 37 businesses that received support in both phases.
Total Regional Support Phase 1 and 2 Emergency Relief Grants:
Vancouver Island – 28
Thompson Okanagan – 17
Northern BC – 18
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast – 12
Vancouver Coast and Mountains – 23
Kootenay Rockies – 4
Breakdown of Sector Support, Type of Business and Tourism Readiness:
Indigenous tourism intersects through many tourism and business sectors. The businesses supported are in the culinary and wellness sector, 35 are from the outdoor adventure sector, 22 are from the arts and culture sector, and 34 are in the accommodations sector.
An overall priority of the Emergency Relief Grant Fund was prioritizing the small business entrepreneurs or family-owned businesses. Of the 102 Indigenous tourism businesses, forty-four are community-owned and 58 businesses are owned by Indigenous entrepreneurs. Forty-four percent of the Indigenous entrepreneurs are women-owned businesses.
Indigenous Tourism BC strives to grow the Indigenous tourism industry in BC and categorizes Stakeholders into a tier system of start up, visitor-ready, market-ready and export-ready. In total, there were four start-up, 23 visitor-ready, 50 market-ready, and 19 export-ready.
Indigenous Tourism BC is grateful to those partners working with us, including the Province of BC, Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism Destination BC, Western Economic Diversification, the regional tourism associations throughout the Province.
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