MEDIA RELEASE: Municipality of Chatham-Kent
CHATHAM-KENT, ON., January 27, 2021 – Chatham-Kent Tourism is excited to announce the second round of the “Spark” Program. The “Spark” Program matches selected applicants with a mentor and provides a $3,000 grant to help take their tourism initiatives to the next level of development.
The goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps, motivate travel and increase visits year-round. Organizers are especially interested in ideas that connect with one or more of the following Chatham-Kent Tourism Destination Management Plan tiers: Agri-Culinary, Angling, Black History, Culture (Visual/Performing), First Nations and War of 1812, Small Towns, Villages & Rural Landscapes. Organizers are also interested in tourism ideas that are enabled by technology, incorporate sustainability principles, celebrate diversity, adapt to the evolving travel landscape, and build future resilience.
Applications are being accepted from January 27 to March 5, 2021 at tourisminnovation.ca/ChathamKent. Following a review process, top applicants will be invited to a virtual Finalists’ Pitch Session and three winners will be selected.
“We are very excited to be launching a second round of the “Spark” Program in Chatham-Kent” says Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “With the positive progress we have seen from our first cohort of winners from the region, we encourage other local entrepreneurs, small businesses and groups to come forward with their new tourism ideas.”
“We continue to work hard with the winners from the first round of “Spark” as we create experiential tourism offerings. With COVID-19 impacting large scale tourism offerings, more intimate experiences and those with a digital component are needed now more than ever. This program gives recipients the opportunity to explore these further and will help them position their tourism offerings for the future” says Shannon Paiva, Tourism Supervisor with the Municipality’s Community Attraction Promotion division.
The Chatham-Kent “Spark” Program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Chatham-Kent Tourism, Chatham-Kent Economic Development, Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent, SOAR Innovation, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, WEtech Alliance, Digital Main Street, and the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario.
Chatham-Kent Tourism is available to assist businesses looking to apply for the “Spark” Program and can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-561-6125. Additional information on the program can be found at tourisminnovation.ca/ChathamKent.
About Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab:
The Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab is a non-profit initiative created to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships, to cultivate and propel collaborations between the tourism and tech sectors, and to build a community of tourism innovators, idea makers and entrepreneurs in Ontario. Launched as a pilot in Windsor Essex in 2018, the Lab and its “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program are expanding to new regions across the province. The Lab is a program of Hackforge and is based at the University of Windsor-EPICentre.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab
Supervisor, Tourism Development Community Attraction and Promotion, Municipality of Chatham-Kent
P: 226.312.2023 x4263