Indigenous communities in British Columbia to benefit from investment in cultural tourism

News Release

Funding supports Vancouver-based non-profit to enhance profile of Indigenous tourism across B.C.

January 22, 2018 – Victoria, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Indigenous businesses and communities in British Columbia will benefit from a Government of Canada investment of $2,250,000 towards the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). This support will help operators offer more authentic Indigenous tourism experiences for visitors to BC. 

Funding was announced today by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, at the Impact Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference. The Minister made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Through this investment, AtBC will provide support to over 400 Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in B.C. through products, services, marketing campaigns and by engaging with key stakeholders.


“Indigenous tourism experiences offer visitors from around the world a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the rich, proud cultural heritage of the original peoples of this land. It also helps create good jobs and new opportunities for indigenous communities, from coast to coast to coast. As our largest service export, and largest employer of youth, Canada’s tourism is a significant economic driver and job creator. Our Government is proud to support Aboriginal Tourism BC as it works with Indigenous tourism businesses right across British Columbia to grow and continue sharing these important stories.”

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

“We are pleased the Government of Canada is investing in initiatives that support the dynamic and thriving Aboriginal tourism sector in BC. This investment allows AtBC to develop world class experiences, meet the increased demand for authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences and enhances the overall tourism industry with concrete benefit.”

Tracy Eyssens, Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Tourism BC

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, B.C’s Indigenous tourism sector generated approximately $705 million in gross direct output for the province. 

  • In 2017, 36 per cent of businesses in B.C.’s Indigenous tourism sector were retail, while 19 per cent were outdoor adventure, 17 per cent were accommodations and 12 per cent were attractions.

  • As part of Canada’s New Tourism Vision, the Government of Canada is committed to growing Indigenous tourism. 

  • Budget 2017 invested $8.6 million to support the development of a unique and authentic Indigenous tourism industry.  

  • Since 2002, the Indigenous tourism sector has grown by more than 66 percent.

Associated Links


Ben Stanford
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 604-666-7038

Tracy Eyssens
Chief Executive Officer
Aboriginal Tourism BC
Telephone: 604-921-1070

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