Friday, July 19, 2024

Despite rebounding international demand, Indigenous tourism continues to face challenges.

Challenges faced by Indigenous tourism businesses during the pandemic: A deeper look

Indigenous Tourism Faces Challenges in Pandemic Recovery

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada have faced significant challenges in their efforts to rebuild and recover. One such example is Joe Bailey, owner of NorthStar Adventures in the Northwest Territories, whose once-thriving tourism business showcasing the Aurora Borealis has been severely impacted.

Bailey’s business, like many Indigenous tourism operations, struggled to access government support during the pandemic, despite facing disproportionately negative impacts from travel restrictions and economic turmoil. Internal documents obtained by Canada’s National Observer reveal the extent of the hardships faced by Indigenous tourism businesses, with a 65.9% decline in direct GDP and a 59.4% drop in employment in 2020 alone.

The challenges faced by Indigenous businesses in accessing financial support, navigating program requirements, and meeting eligibility criteria have led to calls for more tailored funding and programs to support their unique needs. Keith Henry, president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, highlights the urgent need for real investments into Indigenous tourism from both federal and provincial governments.

Despite the potential for growth in the Indigenous tourism sector, there is a noted gap in international travelers’ awareness of Indigenous offerings in Canada. Improved marketing and development efforts, along with increased support for Indigenous businesses, are seen as crucial steps in advancing reconciliation and self-determination within the tourism industry.

As Indigenous tourism operators strive to rebuild and attract visitors, the road to recovery remains challenging. The industry’s resilience and determination to overcome obstacles point towards a brighter future, but ongoing support and investment will be essential in realizing the sector’s full potential.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Most Popular