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New Program Aims to "Spark" Innovative Tourism Ideas in London with Mentorship and Grants

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 10:52

LONDON, November 10, 2020 – The Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab’s “Spark” Mentorship & Grants Program launches today in London encouraging individuals, small businesses and nonprofit organizations to create new tourism ideas for the region. View the announcement video below.

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 in products and services, motivate travel and increase visits year-round.

Organizers are especially interested in new tourism ideas that connect with technology, celebrate our diverse communities, people, cultures and history, activate greenspace and waterways and establish multi-sector partnerships and collaborations.

Applications are being accepted from November 10, 2020 to January 6, 2021 at tourisminnovation.ca/London. Following a review process, top applicants will be invited to a Finalists’ Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.

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

The London “Spark” Program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport Tourism & Culture Industries, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Tourism London, Fanshawe Leap Junction, London Economic Development Corporation and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. 

Media Contacts

Natalie Wakabayashi, Director, Culture & Entertainment Tourism, Tourism London 226.926.0134 | nwakabayashi@londontourism.ca

Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab 416.712.8819 | info@tourisminnovation.ca

QUOTES

Cheryl Finn, General Manager, Tourism London

“Tourism plays such a vital role in the economic well-being of our community. In London, we have a number of entrepreneurs and creative minds who we’re hoping will come forward with innovative ideas to grow the tourism industry in the Forest City. This is a tremendous opportunity for mentorship and growth, and we look forward to seeing the unique tourism initiatives that come forward.”

Jim Hudson, Executive Director, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation

“As a Founding Partner of the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, SWOTC is thrilled to collaborate on the London “Spark” Program. The program has already generated over 60 new tourism ideas in three southwest Ontario regions and connected nine tourism entrepreneurs with mentors, grants and other support. Congratulations, we have high expectations for continued spectacular achievements in London.”

Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab

"We are very excited to be launching the “Spark” Program in London. With its diversity of people, places, small businesses and greenspaces, we are inspired by the opportunities for tourism innovation in the Forest City."

ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS

About the 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 WindsorEPICentre.

About Tourism London

Tourism London, the city’s destination marketing organization since 1996, collaborates to create and promote innovative experiences that make for lasting and unforgettable memories. Working with local and regional partners, Tourism London facilitates the development and marketing of London’s tourism and hospitality industry and economic well-being.

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