Indigenous Tourism Alberta Successfully Provides Stimulus Relief to more than 35 Businesses

Stimulus grant part of ongoing efforts to provide assistance to Indigenous Tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19

Treaty 6 Territory, Edmonton, Alberta (October 20, 2020) – Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) has successfully provided a total of $200,000 in stimulus relief across 37 Alberta Indigenous tourism businesses to provide assistance for Indigenous businesses in Alberta being impacted by COVID-19.

The Stimulus Relief  is supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada and comes in response to COVID-19. Indigenous Tourism Alberta revised its one-year action plan for the continued support of its members through these challenging times. This Stimulus Fund is one of the key action items within the revised action plan to further support the sustainability of the Indigenous tourism industry while navigating the current COVID-19 environment.

“In the current social landscape, there is an increased appetite for experiences that diversify a person’s understanding of history and different cultures. Currently, 1-in-4 domestic travellers want an Indigenous experience as part of their travel plans, which brings a unique opportunity for Indigenous tourism Alberta to share the diversity of our offerings across the province,” said Shae Bird, Executive Director of Indigenous Tourism Alberta. “This stimulus relief will allow Indigenous businesses to continue to provide services and activities to the tourism industry.  As the demand is showing, it’s clear that Indigenous tourism is a critical piece of the economic recovery and health of this province.”

Indigenous tourism in Alberta is worth an estimated $166.2 million of GDP today and carries with it tremendous upside potential. COVID-19 has had a direct negative impact on the tourism sector in general, but especially on Indigenous tourism. Sustaining Indigenous tourism in Alberta is a key priority for ITA.

“I’m thrilled and grateful for the hard work of the ITA team to advocate for the Indigenous tourism industry during these auspicious times. The arts sector, its leaders and artists, more than ever, need all their creative talent to re-frame their craft in response to a shift into the virtual world,” said Sophia Lebessis, Owner of Transformation Fine Art. “Artistic legacy will continue to thrive no matter what obstacle is in our path, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy. Any investment in the human imagination benefits us all. It’s art that has made isolation bearable.”

The Stimulus Fund will allow businesses to prepare for the recovery by covering costs such as marketing overhead, business costs, health and safety standard improvements and staffing.

“The Stimulus Grant from ITA has allowed Pei Pei Chei Ow to further pursue creative marketing strategies, expand digital offerings and gain a wider platform online. We are now able to share our passion for food through storytelling and cooking classes in a safe manner,” said Scott Jonathan Iserhoff Chef and Owner of Pei Pei Chei Ow.

“I very much appreciate the support from Indigenous Tourism Alberta during this challenging time. Thank you so much for being there for Indigenous entrepreneurs and making sure Blackfoot Grill has a future. It means more than I can say. During this upcoming holiday season, please help support us and others and we will persevere,”  said Clayton Chief Body from Blackfoot Grill.

About Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Incorporated in 2018 as a not-for-profit society, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) provides leadership in the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across Alberta through innovative partnerships. The ITA board consists of six board members representing Indigenous tourism businesses from across Alberta. Indigenous tourism currently generates $130 million in spending in Alberta, providing jobs and supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and communities. For more information, visit

To set up an interview with Indigenous Tourism Alberta Executive Director, Shae Bird, please contact:

Jessica Harcombe Fleming
Beattie Tartan