Today, Travel Alberta and Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) announced a significant provincial contribution towards the development and marketing of Indigenous-owned tourism experiences.
Under the new funding commitment, Travel Alberta will provide $6 million in direct and in-kind support over three years to ITA. The investment will enable more Indigenous tourism operators to develop new tourism products, expand existing offerings and more effectively market and attract visitors to their experiences.
“Alberta’s tourism sector is a key driver of revenue and jobs in communities across the province. Our government is committed to growing the tourism sector and supporting authentic Indigenous tourism experiences to preserve culture, language and traditions. As Minister, I remain committed to reducing red tape and regulatory barriers to growth in the tourism industry, including for Indigenous tourism operators. I commend Travel Alberta and Indigenous Tourism Alberta on this agreement.”
Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry, Parks and Tourism
"The deepening of this ongoing seminal partnership speaks to our commitment to reconciliation and the empowering of Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities in all corners of the province. Indigenous tourism acts as an important bridge between cultures, creating resilient, prosperous communities, and provides a touchstone for international visitors to Alberta.”
David Goldstein, CEO of Travel Alberta
"We're thrilled that our partnership with Travel Alberta continues to grow. It's a truly reciprocal relationship that, not only benefits Indigenous entrepreneurs across the province, but supports Travel Alberta and the province's tourism industry on its path toward reconciliation. We've seen incredible growth over the first few years of this partnership and we are excited to see the benefits continue. Indigenous tourism will continue to play a vital role in strengthening Alberta's visitor economy while supporting the revitalization and sharing of authentic Indigenous culture throughout these traditional territories.”
Shae Bird, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Authentic, Indigenous owned-and-operated tourism experiences have become a key driver for international visitation to Alberta. Recently, several Indigenous tourism operators were featured in National Geographic’s 2023 Best of the World list, making Alberta the sole Canadian destination featured.
- Travel Alberta’s partnership with ITA began in 2021. Over the past two years, Travel Alberta has provided $2.85 million to ITA.
- The new funding agreement flows in part from the investment in rural tourism outlined in the recent provincial budget.
- Additionally, since 2021, Travel Alberta has invested more than $2.5 million in Indigenous tourism operators in the province.
- ITA’s membership is one of Canada’s fastest growing Indigenous tourism associations. Since 2020, their membership has grown from 138 to 230.
- Revenue for Indigenous tourism businesses is projected to reach $258M in 2023.
- Indigenous tourism is projected to contribute $126.4M in GDP in 2024.
- Authentic Indigenous experiences are a key driver for tourism:
- One in two Albertans want to learn more about Indigenous cultures and are open to Indigenous tourism.
- One in three international visitors are seeking an authentic Indigenous experience.
- Indigenous tourism supports the livelihoods of Indigenous entrepreneurs, the revitalization of Indigenous culture and language, and offers reconciliation opportunities to non-Indigenous travellers.