Round two of Spark program announced

·2 min read

Chatham-Kent tourism officials have announced the second round of a program to match applicants with a mentor, as well as provide a $3,000 grant to help their initiatives.

The “Spark” program aims to find and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships to enhance current offerings.

“We are very excited to be launching a second round of the Spark program in Chatham-Kent,” said Justin Lafontaine, program lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, in a release.

Lafontaine said he encourages other local entrepreneurs, small businesses and groups to come forward with their new tourism ideas.

Ideas within the areas of agri-culinary, angling, Black history, culture, First Nations and the War of 1812, small towns, villages and rural landscapes are of particular interest. However, organizers are also interested in initiatives involving technology, sustainability, diversity, adapting to the evolving travel landscape, and building future resilience.

Applications are being accepted until March 5 at tourisminnovation.ca/ChathamKent. After a review process, the top applicants will be invited to a virtual finalists’ pitch session. Three winners will be selected.

“We continue to work hard with the winners from the first round of Spark as we create experiential tourism offerings,” said Shannon Paiva, municipal tourism supervisor. “This program gives recipients the opportunity to explore these further and will help them position their tourism offerings for the future.”

The Spark program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Chatham-Kent Tourism, Chatham-Kent Economic Development, the Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent, SOAR Innovation, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, WEtech Alliance, Digital Main Street, and the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario.

For more information, contact cktourism@chatham-kent.ca, or call 1-800-561-6125.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News