The “Spark” Program will officially launch on October 24, 2019 at Buxton National Historic Site and Museum. “Spark” offers a $3,000 grant and mentorship connections to help tourism entrepreneurs take their idea to the next level. The goal of the program is to identify and foster tourism experiences and partnerships addressing address gaps or challenges, enhance current offerings, and motivate travel.
In Chatham-Kent, the program will focus on opportunities to promote rural tourism and sustainability. “We are excited to bring the ‘Spark’ program to Chatham-Kent this year. We’re confident the program will support new tourism offerings and partnerships in this iconic tourism destination,” says Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.
The program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, Chatham-Kent Tourism, Chatham-Kent Economic Development and Regional Tourism Organization 1 (RTO1) Southwestern Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC), with support from VIA Rail Canada and Libro Credit Union.
“Spark aims to encourage tourism entrepreneurs to offer more experiential, unique or enhanced tourism activities so that we can continue to support and grow our important tourism sector”, says Mayor Darrin Canniff, Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
The “Spark” program was piloted in Windsor Essex last year and has since expanded across the province to the County of Bruce, Bay of Quinte, Mississauga and Northeastern Ontario.
From October 24 to November 29, 2019, individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations based in Chatham-Kent can apply to “Spark” program. In addition to a source of funds and mentorship, selected participants will also gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, and receive a guide outlining other resources and support services provided by partners. The top applicants from the region will be invited to a pitch session in January, where three finalists will be selected.
To apply to the “Spark” program, and for more information, visit www.tourisminnovation.ca/chathamkent.