New program aims to spark innovative tourism ideas in Sarnia-Lambton

Petrolia, ON – A new program aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas in Sarnia-Lambton was officially announced today at the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia.

“We are excited to be launching the “Spark” Program in Sarnia-Lambton,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “With its diverse and unique mix of destinations, waterfront, history, and attractions, we are keen to spark and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the region’s offerings, profile, and experiences.”

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.

The “Spark” Program was first launched in Windsor Essex in 2018 by the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, and is now expanding to regions across the province, including Sarnia-Lambton. 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.

“Tourism Sarnia-Lambton believes the new tourism initiative is a great opportunity for those entrepreneurs and existing businesses to cultivate their ideas,” said Beverley Horodyski, Product Development, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton. “We look forward to working with the successful candidates to expand our tourism assets in Lambton County.”From November 14 to January 15, 2020, applications are being accepted from individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in Sarnia-Lambton. Following a review process, the top applicants will be invited to a Finalists’ Pitch Session in February where three winners will be selected.

The Sarnia-Lambton expansion of the “Spark” Program is being led by the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, in collaboration with Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Libro Credit Union, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board.

For more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program and application guide go to www.tourisminnovation.ca/sarnialambton.

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