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Indigenous Tourism Association of BC: Labour Market Research Project Sets Strategy to Strengthen Indigenous Employment and Training in Tourism Industry in BC

Press Release

February 12, 2020

Coast Salish Territories: In November 2019, the BC Government announced funding for the Indigenous Tourism BC labour market project. This two-stage initiative will result in a new strategy setting the path to strengthen Indigenous tourism in British Columbia. Indigenous communities, Indigenous tourism businesses and those who support Indigenous employment in the tourism industry will be asked to participate in this research to support Indigenous people’s participation in the industry.

The project will build on the highly success AtBC Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy 2005 which was the first intensively researched Indigenous tourism plan in Canada. It became a revolutionary study to understand the Indigenous tourism sector and visitors’ interest in Indigenous tourism. The Blueprint Strategy was served as a guide for other regions and countries in the development of their Indigenous tourism sectors.

This labour research project realizes that Indigenous population is the fastest growing population in Canada, and in a country and economy where labour is in high demand and short supply, the tourism industry needs to ensure it is accessible and attractive to Indigenous people and that BC continues to be a leading region of Indigenous tourism. According to the province, Indigenous tourism contributes $705 million a year to BC’s economy, employing 7,400 people in more than 400 businesses.

To help grow the tourism sector the BC government announced $440,000 to conduct labour market research and develop an Indigenous tourism labour market strategy to address skills training for tourism operators and businesses. Brenda Baptiste, Chair for Indigenous Tourism BC says, “This important research will help us understand the barriers for Indigenous employment in the tourism industry and support the development of a strong foundation to grow Indigenous employment in the tourism industry.”

Funded through the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training’s Sector Labour Market Partnership Program, this project will:

  • Complete a literature review on studies, reports, strategies on Indigenous labour and population, and Indigenous participation in tourism
  • Conduct research of Indigenous community through interviews, focus groups, surveys and community forums of Indigenous tourism operators, Indigenous people especially students and knowledge keepers, employment agencies, and political organizations
  • Collect ideas and needs of mainstream tourism industry and opportunity for Indigenous people
  • Understand the training and education system in tourism training
  • Explore the opportunities and impact of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program on the Indigenous labour in tourism
  • Calculate the impact of Indigenous labour in tourism in BC
  • Frame a strategy on how to strengthen Indigenous participation and success in Indigenous and mainstream tourism through skills training and other labour and education activities
  • Uncover smart practices in Indigenous employment in tourism

The research will include surveys and community forums with Indigenous community, Indigenous leadership and Indigenous tourism businesses and those who work with, support and employ Indigenous people in the tourism industry. There will be a community forums in each of the six BC tourism industry regions and a Provincial Forum soon to be scheduled in Vancouver.

Registration for the community forums are free. Please register here.

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