Tourism Week in Canada is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Aboriginal tourism, one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in British Columbia.
Aboriginal tourism is a big draw for visitors from around the globe looking for a unique cultural experience. It is a key sector in B.C.’s provincial tourism strategy and is supported by over $8 million to date in provincial funding for the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C.’s (AtBC) marketing activities.
This sector is thriving with revenue more than doubling from $20 million in 2006 to $45 million in 2013. In 2014, there were more than 300 Aboriginal tourism businesses in British Columbia, and as of 2014, more than double the number in 2006.
Some of those businesses you can consider as you #ExploreBC this summer include:
- Talaysay Tours has locations on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and in Vancouver, with a range of tours, from walks in Stanley Park exploring Indigenous cultural practices to kayaking under the full moon.
- Eat at the Kekuli Café (Ke-Koo-Lee) with locations in Merritt and West Kelowna, featured on the Food Network's program You Gotta Eat Here.
- Visit the Haida Heritage Centre in Haida Gwaii.
- The Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Festival runs from June 17-19.
- National Aboriginal Day, June 21.
- Enjoy a meal from the Songhees Nation Food Truck in Victoria.
- Search for the Spirit Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest near Bella Bella.
- Sip some wine at the Okanagan’s Nk’Mip Winery and tour the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Center.
- Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.
- Have some fun at the First Nations owned St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino in Cranbrook.
- Try First Nations cuisine at the Salmon n’Bannock Bistro in Vancouver.
- Tour through Bill Reid’s Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in downtown Vancouver.
- Visit Prince George’s The Exploration Place and its First Nations Gallery.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Aboriginal tourism and cultural experiences are one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in our province. As we celebrate Tourism Week in Canada, we want British Columbians to explore their own province and visit one of the many Indigenous businesses that are contributing to our diverse tourism sector.”
Brenda Baptiste, Chair, Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC –
“The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia is a leader in Aboriginal tourism development and world-class experiences. We are celebrating Tourism Week and the economic benefits that tourism brings to our First Nations communities and continue to collaborate with our partners to ensure that the visitor experience is unparalleled and enriches the overall industry.”
- In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. – a 7.9% increase compared to 2014.
- Tourism provides a job for roughly one out of every 15 people employed in B.C.
- The Province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector across every region to grow and market the sector.
For more Aboriginal Tourism activity ideas, visit: https://www.aboriginalbc.com/
Details of the Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Festival: https://www.aboriginalbc.com/victoria-aboriginal-festival/
Talaysay Tours in information: http://www.talaysay.com/
For B.C. tourism information: http://www.hellobc.com/
BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/