CORNWALL — A new program aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas for the United Counties of SDG and the City of Cornwall officially kicked off this week.
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.
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.
Launched Sept. 17 in the Seaway city, 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,” says 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.”
Applications are encouraged from individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in Cornwall & SDG Counties through Oct. 30th, 2020. Following a review process, the top applicants will be invited to a Pitch Session where three finalists will be selected.
“Tourism is the foundation many of our local entrepreneurs build their businesses upon. 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,” says Warden Frank Prevost. “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.”
“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,” says 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.”
See more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program and the application guide at www.tourisminnovation.ca/CornwallSDGCounties.