Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), Destination BC and the Tourism Innovation Lab have partnered to launch the Indigenous Tourism BC “Spark” Program. The initiative will spark new Indigenous tourism ideas and experiences which authentically represent, celebrate, and promote Indigenous cultures, heritage, language, cuisine, and communities in British Columbia.
View official program announcement video: Here
The program works by matching selected applicants with a tourism mentor, providing a $5,000 seed grant as well as additional partner support to help develop new tourism experiences. Applications are encouraged from Indigenous entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in British Columbia, from November 9 to December 17, 2021. Following a review process, five finalists will be invited to a virtual Pitch Session on January 25, 2022 where three winners will be selected.
The organizers are especially interested in new Indigenous tourism ideas that support and/or offer shoulder season activities in rural areas, opportunities for guided interpretive programs, learning and creating authentic crafts with artists, culinary experiences, and ideas that support truth and reconciliation, sustainability and/or address climate change.
Funders and supporters of the Indigenous Tourism BC “Spark” Program include Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism BC, and TD Bank Group.
The “Spark” Program was first launched in Ontario in 2018 by the Tourism Innovation Lab and is expanding throughout British Columbia, supported by Destination BC. For more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program and upcoming Info Sessions visit: www.tourisminnovation.ca/ITBC
Brenda Baptiste, Board Chair, Indigenous Tourism BC
Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) is pleased to partner with Destination BC and the Tourism Innovation Lab in launching the first-ever Indigenous Tourism “Spark” Program in BC. We hope the mentorship and support will attract new ideas and entrepreneurs from rural areas and develop new off-season experiences that address climate change, support sustainability, and contribute to truth and reconciliation.
Richard Porges, President & CEO, Destination BC
“Supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs develop new Indigenous tourism experiences in BC is an integral part of our long-standing partnership with ITBC to grow and promote a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry. We are excited to work with ITBC and Tourism Innovation Lab to develop new Indigenous tourism products, enrichening the visitor experience through a deeper connection to the province and opportunity to learn about the cultures and heritage of British Columbia’s Indigenous people.”
Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab
“We are thrilled to be launching our first Indigenous Tourism “Spark” Program in British Columbia. Supporting Indigenous tourism ideas and innovators through mentorships and financial contributions will help propel this growing sector and create exciting new Indigenous led-tourism offerings and experiences across BC.”
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