****Interested in applying to the West Kootenay “Spark” Program? Register for an upcoming info session to learn more****
Info Session #1: July 13, 5:00pm-5:45pm
Info Session #2: July 28, 11:30am-12:15pm
A new program by Destination BC and Tourism Innovation Lab aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas in the West Kootenay area was announced today by provincial and local tourism partners.
The “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is designed to help tourism entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations overcome challenges and barriers often experienced in bringing new tourism products to life. Previous program participants in Ontario were selected for water-based ecotours, agritourism initiatives, Indigenous tourism programs, wine and culinary workshops, interactive walking tours, virtual experiences, aerial adventures, winter glamping retreats, nature orientated vacation packages, and more.
The goal is to find, foster and support innovative tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits.
The program works by matching selected applicants with a tourism mentor, providing a $3,000 seed grant as well as additional partner support to help develop new tourism experiences. Applications are encouraged from entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations in the West Kootenay, from June 23 to August 11, 2021. Following a review process, five finalists will be invited to a virtual Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.
The West Kootenay “Spark” Program is presented by Destination British Columbia in collaboration with Kootenay Rockies Tourism, Arrow Slocan Tourism, Destination Castlegar, Discover Creston Valley, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Tourism Rossland, and the Tourism Innovation Lab.
The “Spark” Program was first launched in Ontario in 2018 by the Tourism Innovation Lab and is now expanding to British Columbia supported by Destination. BC. For more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program and upcoming Info Sessions visit: www.tourisminnovation.ca/WestKootenay
Richard Porges, Interim President & CEO, Destination BC
“The Spark program is an exciting new partnership that will drive innovation in the West Kootenay. With travellers’ growing appetite for new experiences creating opportunities for tourism owners and operators to generate new activities and revenue, we are delighted to work with Tourism Innovation Lab, Kootenay Rockies Tourism and other local partners to develop new tourism offerings, adding value to BC communities and increasing our province’s competitiveness.”
Kathy Cooper, CEO, Kootenay Rockies Tourism
“Kootenay Rockies Tourism is pleased to be the first region in BC to offer the ‘Spark’ Program to tourism businesses. This launch in the West Kootenay will provide businesses with a unique opportunity to build on their existing products and enhance the value of the experiences they are providing to visitors. We believe providing this opportunity to create some unique new offerings will complement the existing compelling product the West Kootenay businesses are currently providing their visitors.”
Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab
“We are excited to be launching the first ‘Spark’ Program in British Columbia in the West Kootenay, and are keen to spark and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the region’s tourism offerings and drive innovation.”
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