The federal government announced Friday it will spend more than $340,000 to improve services for LGBTQ tourists to Atlantic Canada.
The money will be spent on an LGBTQ tourism market readiness program that will give staff training on inclusion, auditing destinations to make sure they have inclusive, welcoming practices and establish a "rainbow certification program" for businesses.
"This is building on a lot of the work that has been done and hopefully through this funding we'll be able to just really take it to the next level," said Darrell Schuurman, CEO of the Canadian LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, which will lead the initiative.
The funding announcement was made in Charlottetown by MP Sean Casey. The $341,804 is through the Tourism Relief Fund, a $500-million national program to support the tourism sector in Canada recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Canada is home to more than 100,000 LGBTQ-owned businesses which generate more than $22 billion in economic activity, a written release noted.
"It's a market that's relatively untapped," Schuurman said. "There's an opportunity for our tourism businesses, tourism industry, to tap into this underserved market and really help to grow the region economically."
Schuurman said discrimination still happens to LGBTQ community members at tourism destinations.
"It does happen, and that's why this training is still so important."
P.E.I.'s Pride Week kicks off this weekend.