New program aims to 'Spark' tourism ideas

spark launch

New program aims to 'Spark' tourism ideas

THE COUNTY, Ontario - A new program aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas for Cornwall & SDG Counties has been launched.

The “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program will match selected applicants from the region with a tourism mentor and provide a $3,000 grant to help take their new tourism idea to the next level of development.

Innovation in the tourism industry is critical for the region to respond, adapt and recover from the significant impacts and evolving travel landscape as a result of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

“Tourism is the foundation many of our local entrepreneurs build their businesses upon," said SDG Warden Frank Prevost. "Everyone is working diligently to find innovative ways to ensure our local tourism industry not only endures the COVID-19 outbreak, but secures a bright future through responding, adapting and recovering from the crisis. The Spark Mentorships & Grants Program is an excellent resource that fosters new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will add to the success of businesses for the present, and future.”

The “Spark” Program was first piloted in Windsor Essex in 2018 by the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, and has now expanded to over 10 regions across the province. Its goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits.

Applications are encouraged from individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in Cornwall & SDG Counties from September 17th to October 30th, 2020. Following a review process, the top applicants will be invited to a Pitch Session where three finalists will be selected.

“I am proud to support such a collaborative, and innovative program, that is sure to bring new ideas and life to Cornwall and the SDG Counties” said Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement. “This program is a great way to focus on the tourism industry in a time that has been particularly hard for tourism-based businesses. I am eager to see what new initiatives may come from the program.”

The Cornwall & SDG Counties “Spark” Program is being led by Cornwall Tourism, Cornwall Tourism Development Fund, SDG Counties, and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.

“We are excited to be launching the “Spark” Program in Cornwall & SDG Counties,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead of the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “We are keen to spark and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the region’s tourism offerings and drive innovation.”

For more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program, application guide and Info Sessions go to www.tourisminnovation.ca/CornwallSDGCounties.