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In this week’s episode of Road to Recovery with Douglas Magazine, CHEK’s Jasmine Bala sits down with Brenda Baptiste, the chair of Indigenous Tourism BC’s board of directors.
Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is a non-profit organization that works with Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities to grow and promote a sustainable and culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry. ITBC does this by offering training, information resources, cooperative marketing programs and networking opportunities to those who are already operating or looking to start a tourism business.
Indigenous tourism was one of the fastest-growing industries in the province and Canada before the pandemic hit. In 2016-17, about 400 of these businesses operated in B.C., ranging from retail and outdoor adventure to accommodation. These businesses generated about $705 million in direct gross domestic output and employed around 7,400 full-time jobs.
In a 2017 survey, Indigenous tourism operators were optimistic about their business prospects over the next five years, with about 75 per cent anticipating hiring more employees.
But when the pandemic hit, all of that changed. Tourism businesses closed overnight.
Baptiste discusses in this segment the impact of the pandemic on the Indigenous tourism industry, how the industry is recovering and what’s in store for the future.
Road to Recovery is done in partnership with Douglas Magazine.