A new program aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas along the Rainforest to Rockies iconic route across southern British Columbia was officially announced today by Destination BC, in partnership with the Tourism Innovation Lab along with local, regional, and provincial tourism partners.
The Rainforest to Rockies “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program will match selected applicants with a tourism mentor and provide a $3,000 grant and additional partner support to help take their new tourism ideas to the next level of development.
The goal of the program is to find, advance, and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the road trip experience along British Columbia’s Rainforest to Rockies corridors, by motivating travellers to stop and explore a unique tourism experience, encouraging them to stay longer and visit more communities along the way.
Applications are encouraged from tourism entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations based in British Columbia from January 23 – March 1, 2024. Following a review process, 20 finalists will be invited to four virtual pitch sessions, resulting in a total of 12 “Spark” Program winners.
The first Iconic brand to launch from Destination BC’s Invest in Iconics Strategy, Rainforest to Rockies takes visitors from the Pacific Coast to the Canadian Rockies. It’s an iconic Canadian journey along ever-changing landscapes, inspiring travellers to visit more places in the province.
The “Spark” Program was first launched in Ontario in 2018 by the Tourism Innovation Lab and has since expanded to several regions across British Columbia.
The Rainforest to Rockies “Spark” Program is presented by Destination BC in collaboration with the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Tourism Region, and the Tourism Innovation Lab.
For more information about the Rainforest to Rockies “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program and upcoming Info Sessions, visit www.tourisminnovation.ca/R2R
Hon. Lana Popham, BC Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
“Elevating the road trip experience along this picturesque corridor is sure to bring new visitors to the region and encourage British Columbians familiar with the area to visit again. By supporting tourism entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations through Rainforest to Rockies, we are prioritizing creating opportunities for people to have a better life through economic prosperity and community enhancement.”
Richard Porges, President & CEO, Destination BC
“The Rainforest to Rockies “Spark” Program will support entrepreneurs in developing and creating new, innovative tourism experiences in communities from the Pacific Coast to the Canadian Rockies. Through this initiative, tourism visionaries will have opportunities to contribute to BC’s extraordinary tapestry of experiences, creating diverse iconic tourism products and options for travellers from sea to sky. Beyond bringing new tourism ideas to life, the initiative will help enhance the appeal of an inspirational travel route in BC, encouraging longer stays and elevating the year-round visitation appeal of communities along the Rainforest to Rockies route.”
Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab
“We are excited to be working with Destination BC in expanding the “Spark” Program and launching the Rainforest to Rockies “Spark” Program in British Columbia. We are keen to spark and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the Rainforest to Rockies tourism offerings and drive innovation.”
Links & Resources:
Learn more at www.DestinationBC.ca/iconics or https://www.HelloBC.com/Places-To-Go/Rainforest-to-Rockies/
Email: [email protected]
Destination BC Media Relations
Email: [email protected]
Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab, 416-712-8819
Email: [email protected]
About Destination BC
Destination British Columbia (Destination BC) is a provincially funded, industry-led Crown corporation that supports a strong and competitive future for BC’s tourism industry through a combination of global marketing, destination development, industry learning, cooperative community-based programs, and visitor servicing. Destination BC’s programs help to improve the visitor experience, support businesses and communities across the province, and strengthen BC’s worldwide reputation as a destination of choice. For more information about Destination BC’s programs and services, please visit: http://www.DestinationBC.ca/
About the Tourism Innovation Lab
The 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. Launched in Ontario in 2018, the Lab and its “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program are expanding to new regions across Canada. The Tourism Innovation Lab is a program of Hackforge and has a BC home base in Squamish. Learn more at www.TourismInnovation.ca/.
About the Invest in Iconics Strategy
Through the creation of iconic place brands, together with experiential development across British Columbia, the Invest in Iconics Strategy aims to encourage travellers to explore more of the province in more seasons.
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