What's New IN THE LAb
​JUNE/July 2021


Going National: The Tourism Innovation Lab is Expanding to British Columbia!


Richard Porges, Interim President & CEO, Destination BC

“The Spark program is an exciting new partnership that will drive innovation in local tourism products. With travellers’ growing appetite for new experiences creating opportunities for industry to generate new activities and revenue, we are delighted to work with Tourism Innovation Lab and local partners to develop new tourism offerings, adding value to BC communities and increasing our province’s competitiveness. Entrepreneurs play an important role in our economy, and small businesses make up the foundation of our province, and this program will go a long way in developing promising tourism ideas that otherwise may not be realized.”

To read the full media release click here​.

West Kootenay "Spark" Program Launched


On June 23rd, we officially launched our very first "Spark" Mentorships & Grants Program in British Columbia, inviting entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in West Kootenay to come forward with new tourism ideas for the area.

Selected applicants will receive $3,000, tourism mentorship, plus additional partner support and resources to help them them started.

What's your new tourism idea, West Kootenay?
For more information please visit: tourisminnovation.ca/WestKootenay
Application deadline: August 11, 2021

​Indigenous Tourism Skode Program 
Winners Announced


Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) and the Lab partnered to launch the Skode Program​, an initiative to spark new Indigenous tourism ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, language, cuisine and communities in Ontario.

On June 17th, a virtual Finalists' Pitch Session was held in collaboration with the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, and 3 winners were selected by our judge panel. Our congratulations to:

- Amanda Cora & Brad Robinson, Thrive Tours (Northern Ontario Indigenous Cultural Experiences & Tours)
- Minogiizhgad, Nwewnan Sasaang (Nwewnan Sasaang Boat Tours)
- Steve Simpson Jr, Simpers Fishing Charters and Guided Hunts/Tours (Year Round Hands-On Experiential Indigenous Programming)

Each will receive $5000, mentorship, plus additional ITO and partner support to help take their Indigenous tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

Thanks to our Skode Program partners Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, TD Bank Group, CN, and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival for collaborating with ITO and the Lab to spark and support Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs and innovation in Ontario.

Ontario "Spark" Next Steps Meetings Held


After "Spark" winners complete their mentorships, the Lab and our regional partners hold Next Steps meetings each to learn about their tourism initiatives and progress to date, followed by a group discussion on additional support and resources - and how we can continue to help them move forward.

Next Steps meetings were held in May and June with our Bay of Quinte, Bruce County (Round 2), Cornwall & SDG Counties, London, Northwest Ontario, Oxford County, and Windsor Essex (Round 2) "Spark" winners, their mentors, and regional partners. In the screen capture above, we are hearing from Katelyn Landry on the development of Fôrij Thrills in London and hosting virtual Urban-Wild experiences.

Thanks to all of our "Spark" winners who have shared their updates. We will be profiling each through 2021. Stay tuned and plan to be inspired!

And a SPECIAL THANK YOU to all of our "Spark" mentors for sharing their time, insights, expertise and experiences to help guide and support our innovative tourism entrepreneurs across Ontario.

More "Spark" Regions Coming In 2021

The "Spark" Mentorships & Grants Program​ will be expanding to new regions in 2021. Stay tuned for announcements. 

Building Mentorship In Canada's Tourism Sector

Are you a recognized tourism innovator, successful entrepreneur, experienced operator and/or sector expert?

​Join our "Spark" Mentor Network and support up-and-coming and early stage tourism innovators in Canada by providing advice and guidance to help them take their new tourism ideas to the next level of development. Contact us at info@tourisminnovation.ca​ for more information on the program and how you can be a mentor.

Visit Our Site

What's Your New Tourism Idea?