The federal government has launched a $10-million program to provide grants to small businesses involved in Indigenous tourism across Canada.

The fund, to be administered by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, will supply qualifying small businesses with up to $25,000 each in non-repayable assistance.

Federal Tourism Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada says the funding will also help the Indigenous Tourism Association promote an accreditation program certifying businesses that offer "high-quality authentic experiences."

Martinez Ferrada says in a statement that growing Indigenous tourism is one of her top priorities.

The federal government says Indigenous tourism was among the hardest hit sectors of the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic after being one of the fastest-growing segments before 2020.

Funding for the new program comes from a $20-million Indigenous Tourism Fund that was announced by the federal government in its 2022 budget.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2023.