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Aboriginal tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in British Columbia's tourism industry, with total revenue increasing by $32 million over the past 9 years. In order to capitalize on this growth, Aboriginal Tourism BC turned to the Strategic Partnerships Initiative
Narrator: Aboriginal tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in British Columbia's tourism industry, with total revenue increasing by $32 million over the past 9 years. In order to capitalize on this growth, Aboriginal Tourism BC turned to the Strategic Partnerships Initiative.
32 Million Dollars Over Past 9 Years
Strategic Partnerships Initiative
Mountains, bear, eagle in flight, quiet lake, totem poles, tourism operator fishing
David Russell: The Strategic Partnership Initiative, also known as SPI, was launched in 2010 to support Aboriginal participation in major economic opportunities throughout the country.
Lower Third: David Russell
Director, Lands and Trust Services, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Interview with David Russell, Mountains, old rock paintings
David Russell: The program coordinates and leverages the efforts and investments of multiple federal departments and agencies. It also supports coordinated interaction with the province, communities and the private sector.
Multiple Federal Departments & Agencies
Forested cliffs, calm lake, old railway above white water rafting site, interview with David Russell
Narrator: Since 2013, the Strategic Partnerships Initiative has made significant investments through the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (ATBC) to help develop market-ready tourism products throughout the province.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia
Market-Ready Tourism Products
Map of Canada, Vancouver shoreline
Keith Henry: Aboriginal Tourism BC is not only the leader in Canada, it's really a global leader in terms of Aboriginal or Indigenous tourism. It really provides such a strong relationship around culture, and Strategic Partnership Initiative has been extremely valuable.
Lower Third: Keith Henry
CEO, Aboriginal Tourism BC
Interview with Keith Henry, BC shoreline, nature tourism operator showing a tourist an eagle in flight, traditional Aboriginal dancer
Keith Henry: We worked with the regional staff, and so we just started the conversation. Eventually we created the work plan together. It was an excellent process. And I'm just glad to see that the Government of Canada is continuing to move forward with these initiatives.
Fish frying on an traditional fire, heron in nature, forest and mountains, interview with Keith Henry
Narrator: SPI Funding supported ATBC in the development of an Indigenous cultural tourism strategy, advisory services to support market-ready tourism businesses, and the expansion of the Authentic Aboriginal Certification Program to include Indigenous performers and artisan products.
Indigenous Cultural Tourism Strategy
Market–Ready Tourism Businesses
Authentic Aboriginal Certification Program
Snow-covered mountains, forest, tourists on a lake at an Aboriginal tourism site, traditional Aboriginal watercraft, totem poles
Keith Henry: SPI came in, helped us meet our 5-year-plan investment targets. Today we have roughly 72 businesses and our goal is to reach 100 by, of course, 2017. We've also launched the Authentic Indigenous website which has roughly 200 Aboriginal artists from British Columbia.
Interview with Keith Henry, Aboriginal drummers, bracelets, sunset on a lake, traditional Aboriginal masks
Keith Henry: Working with SPI did help create new partnerships and reconfirm existing ones. SPI and having those funds allowed us to go and leverage with Western Economic Diversification. The other side of what Strategic Partnership Initiative did was allow us to go back to the province around their marketing dollars to help support the industry. It's been paramount to the success of implementing our 5-year plan.
Reconfirm Existing Partnerships
Western Economic Diversification
Lake, white-water rafting, British Columbia flag, ATBC office, interview with Keith Henry
Narrator: Skwachàys Lodge is just one example of a business that has benefitted from SPI's investment in ATBC. Skwachàys Lodge, Canada's first Indigenous art hotel, is located in downtown Vancouver.
Skwachàys sign, rooftop waterfall, traditional bird painting,
David Eddy: Skwachàys is really unique in our portfolio of buildings. Three floors occupied by Aboriginal artists. Art gallery on the main floor, and then we have the 18 hotel rooms on floors 5, 6 and 7. We actually provide the subsidy for those artists living in the building, through the profits of the hotel and gallery. We're really strong supporters of the ATBC mission and mandate and it's really been beneficial for us.
Lower Third: David Eddy
CEO, Vancouver Native Housing Society
18 Hotel Rooms
Interview with David Eddy, Aboriginal artist wood-working, Skwachàys art gallery, Aboriginally designed hotel rooms
Maggie Edwards: I think our relationship with ATBC has been an extremely positive one. I think they've been a really big help to us. We partnered with them on a Social Media campaign, training tools, create funding streams for marketing programs.
Lower Third: Maggie Edwards
General Manager, Skwachàys Lodge
Maggie Edwards working, interview with Maggie Edwards, authentic Aboriginal art in the Skwachàys gallery
David Eddy: The highest level of the ATBC authenticity program allows us to sell art in our gallery which means that we provide artists with fair compensation and it's phenomenally successful.
Authentic Aboriginal art in the Skwachàys gallery, Interview with David Eddy
Narrator: Indigenous entrepreneurs across the province are becoming market ready thanks to ATBC and SPI. One business, the Kekuli Café, has been featured on the Food Network's "You Gotta Eat Here!"
Strategic Partnerships Initiative
Mountains and river in British Columbia, Merritt town sign, Kekuli Café entrance, Sharon Bond serving coffee
Sharon Bond: Aboriginal Tourism BC has really helped us out in a lot of the marketing for our business; the brochures, the pamphlets, the different events that they do, and our website actually.
Lower Third: Sharon Bond
Owner, Kekuli Café
Interview with Sharon Bond, Bannock in the kitchen and in the front
Sharon Bond: Being a small business, and starting out, it's been awesome. We get people find out that we're here and coming to check us out. ATBC really helped with getting us marketed across Canada, even in Germany, China, so it's kind of neat to be put out there on the map.
Sharon serving customers, interview with Sharon Bond, bannock ready to eat, customer with coffee, Sharon talking with customers
Narrator: Thanks to help from SPI, more authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences than ever have become market ready in BC. ATBC is transforming the tourism industry in BC and helping Aboriginal entrepreneurs create viable and sustainable platforms to share their culture with the rest of the world.
Trees, totem poles, field of flowers, dolphins swimming
Keith Henry: Without SPI, we wouldn't be where we are today.
Interview with Keith Henry, eagle in tree, ATBC logo
Aboriginal Tourism BC
our story. your experience.