COURTENAY – September 19, 2023 – The Huu-ay-aht First Nations is investigating a tourism fee program in the Bamfield area to support the Nation’s development of ecological and cultural stewardship to strengthen local tourism through a new project investment with Island Coastal Economic Trust.
“We are very appreciative of the investment from the Trust in supporting Huu-ay-aht as we investigate a valuable option that will support Huu-ay-aht’s economy and Guardian program,” says Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor, John Jack (Sayaač̓atḥ), “Taking these steps will ensure that the stewardship of our territory is sustained, and protected, and provides visitors with knowledge of Huu-ay-aht’s values.”
This potential program, inspired by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s successful Tribal Parks Allies program launched in 2018, will be adapted to suit the specific needs and interests of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. This strategy invites businesses and organizations to sign a protocol agreement that commits them to contribute a 1% Ecosystem Service Fee to fund action items defined in community plans, such as environmental and cultural stewardship initiatives. With new road infrastructure improving access to Bamfield and Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ traditional territory, Huu-ay-aht is expecting a major influx of tourism visitation. The development of new partnerships with local businesses and tourism operators will create a revenue stream that will be directly reinvested in long-term stewardship of Huu-ay-aht territories enabling sustainable tourism development.
“This initiative is a special one for the Trust to invest in with Huu-ay-aht who are leading the way in developing a sustainable local economy along with an innovative approach to stewardship finance as the owners and stewards of their traditional territory,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust, “This new initiative will create new partnerships and revenues for Huu-ay-aht First Nations that benefit local businesses, citizens, and visitors in the years ahead.”
The project includes a strategic planning and visioning phase, which will determine the specifications of the Huu-ay-aht Allies program, as well as the initiative’s development and launch. During the second phase, the program will invite Bamfield businesses and other businesses utilizing Huu-ay-aht traditional territory to voluntarily participate.
The “Allies Tourism Fee Development” program will work with participating businesses, recognized as “Allies”, and be recognized as such through the display of the Allies logo. Together, allied members and Huu-ay-aht will work in a mutually beneficial way that is respectful of Indigenous rights and help mitigate the impacts of tourism.
“Bamfield and Huu-ay-aht territories continue to attract visitors who are looking for stunning beauty and adventures in nature,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, “This innovative program will help ensure more of the profits from tourism go back to the Huu-ay-aht Nation and create partnerships that will support the region’s ongoing prosperity.”
Island Coastal Economic Trust is investing with Huu-ay-aht First Nations in the Allies Tourism Fee Development project through the Capital and Innovation Program. The Trust will contribute $45,500 to a total project budget of $95,500. The project will be underway imminently.
For the official press release, please click here
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Huu-ay-aht First Nations