Deadline Approaching for Resilient Communities Fund
The Resilient Communities Fund supports the recovery efforts of organizations impacted by COVID-19 with immediate, medium, and longer-term recovery projects. Applicants can apply for a minimum of $10,000, and up to $200,000, with a maximum of $100,000 per year.

Resilient Communities Fund grants support projects that help rebuild an organization’s capacity, enhance their resiliency, and meet the changing needs of their communities. Projects should be focused on: 
  • developing new approaches;
  • starting new activities;
  • adjusting strategies, or 
  • planning for future challenges 
Application deadline is April 6, 2022.
Tourism Hospitality Emergency Recovery Program
Students are looking for summer employment now! Help a young person turn a summer job into a great career. Find free training for your new hires at LetsGetReady.ca.
RAISE Digital Main Street Program

The RAISE program provides coaching, mentorship, advisory services and grants to entrepreneurs looking to increase their capacity and scale their business. The objectives of RAISE are to: 
  1. Provide non-repayable grants of up to $10,000 to eligible racialized small businesses and entrepreneurs upon the completion of a structured coaching program.
  2. Deliver a coaching program that will provide individual business advice and coaching to applicants as part of the program to support implementation of the required business transformation plan.
Eligible costs include:
  • Fees for expertise/professional services (excluding owner/staff wages and salaries)
  • Marketing and communications costs (e.g. print media, signage, promotional ads etc.)
  • Costs related to digital transformation (e.g. website, digital marketing, software, etc.
  • Travel costs necessary to attain business transformation plan objectives
Canada Digital Adoption Program
The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is designed to boost e-commerce presence and digitize how Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run their businesses behind the scenes. The program provides funding and expertise to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians.

Businesses will be able to apply for two different kinds of support:
  • Stream 1: Grow Your Business Online, will help SMEs take advantage of e-commerce opportunities
  • Stream 2: Boost Your Business Technology, will help businesses with the development and implementation of digital adoption strategies
There is vast opportunity in digital, to market more strategically, operate more efficiently, and use the insights produced to propel tourism businesses forward. CDAP is a valuable resource for industry members looking to take their first steps into going digital or maximizing their ongoing efforts.


Resorts of Ontario
Spring Marketing Program
Resorts of Ontario (ROO) has partnered with Destination Ontario for their spring program to bring members even more marketing opportunities! Tier 1 is sold out. The good news is there is still space available in Tier 2 & 3! Some of the Tier 2 opportunities are;
  • Sponsored social ads direct from Resorts of Ontario, driving the traffic direct to your resort
  • Pre-summer push to help fill any gaps for your summer season
  • NEW summer web online magazine
  • Experience Gift Guide promoting your spring and summer experiences selling gift certificates
  • Ad on Spring and Summer Landing Page with Links to Your Website
  • Social Media Sponsored Support driving qualified traffic
  • E-blast Newsletter to 100K Audience
  • Pre-summer push 
  • Extension into the summer
  • and so much more! 
To access this program, you must be a member of ROO. As an Indigenous-owned resort and member of ITO, you can become an ROO member at an exclusive ITO rate through our partner benefits. Email ITO at membership@indigenoustourismontario.ca to learn how to become a ROO member and participate in the Spring Marketing Program. 
Grand River Histories Project
RTO4 invites eligible organizations and businesses to apply to the Grand River Destination Animation Program to create experiences associated with the Grand River. The program was launched in response to a growing number of community members sharing stories of the unique histories that exist along this Canadian heritage river and the usefulness of these stories in communicating the rich history of the river to visitors through these animations. RTO4 is looking for ideas that share the essence of the Grand River’s history and DNA in bold, and creative new ways.

Explore the Application Guide
here and if you’re interested in applying download and fill out this questionnaire and submit by email to Tristin@rto4.ca.

Application deadline is April 30th, 2022 at 11:59pm.
Upcoming Workshop:
Tourism Business Development Certificate
Limited to a maximum of 10 participants, Indigenous members are invited to attend this free, two day, in-person training to learn how to enhance your business from successful business owners within the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. 

Training Overview
Day 1 – April 30, 2022 from 10:00am – 3:00pm
  • Digitizing your Business/Social Media + Audience Engagement Tactics with facilitator Layla Black
  • Partnership Development Tactics with facilitator Conrad Bobiwash
  • Includes Lunch
Day 2 – May 1st, 2022 from 9:30am – 12:00pm
  • Visitor Services + Customer Relations with facilitator Jaquie Jamieson
To register, email: angelica.smith@theheartofontario.com.
Nakanagis Online Information Session for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Date: April 6, 2022
Time: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm 

Join Carey Calder, Founder of Nakanagis Consulting for a conversation about the governance and financial considerations for existing (and aspiring) Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses.

Gain a clearer understanding of options and tax implications where you are pursuing contracts as a sole proprietor or incorporated business. This event will be an open dialogue and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions in advance as part of registration, as well as a live Q&A session during the virtual panel.
Deadline Extended: Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurship Survey

The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) has developed an Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurship Survey to help better understand the interests and needs of Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurs in Canada. 

If you are an Indigenous business owner between the ages of 18 and 39, ITO would like to invite you to complete NACCA’s 10-15 minute survey. Every participant who completes the survey will be provided with a free downloadable, digital art created by Chief Lady Bird, a Chippewa and Potawatomi artist, educator, and community activist from Rama First Nation.

Check out the video of one of many inspiring Indigenous youth who have successfully launched their business with the support of the AFI network. Inuk entrepreneur Dawn Forrest created Inuuvunga Designs to celebrate Inuit culture and way of life through infant and toddler apparel. Learn more about Dawn’s success and find out how Futurpreneur and NACCA are supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs!

Survey is now open until April 18, 2022.

2022 TIAO Board of Directors Call for Nominations

In accordance with TIAO’s By-laws, TIAO has put out an official notice of the Call for Nominations for the 2022 TIAO Board of Directors.

Working on behalf of TIAO’s members, the Board members play a pivotal role in guiding Ontario’s provincial tourism organization towards a clear vision for the industry’s future. TIAO’s Bylaws allow Directors to serve for an option of three two-year terms or two three-year terms. TIAO is currently seeking a Board Director that would serve an option of two three-year terms.

Nomination Closing Date is April 21, 2022. Learn more here.
SWOTC Board of Directors Call for Nominations

Director applications are now open, and we are looking for passionate leaders to help shape the future of tourism in Southwest Ontario.  

The main roles of the SWOTC (RTO 1) Board include: 
  • Set strategic direction
  • Governance
  • Industry outreach
This opportunity provides Directors the chance to build a strong network across the region, a connection to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and build governance literacy and experience. There are two director positions to be filled.

The application deadline is April 19, 2022 at 1:00pm but candidates are urged to submit earlier if possible. Learn more here.
Central Counties Tourism
Call for Directors

Central Counties Tourism (RTO 6) is seeking new members for its Board of Directors. Board members will bring leadership, passion, and vision to the team that will be instrumental in growing the tourism industry in York, Durham, and Headwaters regions of Ontario. If you are interested in contributing your knowledge and experience to help build a strong tourism region, the Board of Directors invites you to submit your nomination for the available positions by completing and submitting the fillable form posted

The Central Counties Tourism Board of Directors is seeking volunteers for four positions:
  • Director-at-large, 3 year term
  • Durham Representative, 3 year term
  • York Representative, 2 year term
  • Headwaters Representative, 2 year term
Please send your completed nomination form to king@centralcounties.ca by April 11, 2022.


Next Steps of Reopening
Effective April 27, 2022: 
  • Mask requirements are removed in all remaining settings 
  • All remaining orders under the Reopening Ontario Act expire 
  • Remaining health-care directives are lifted, however, the government will still direct health-care workers to wear personal protective equipment 
  • After this date, masks will not be mandatory but will be encouraged and highly recommended for those who are immunocompromised, at high risk, or who choose to still use them.
2022 Skode Program Winners Announced

The Skode Program is an initiative to spark new Indigenous tourism ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous cultures, heritage, languages, cuisines and communities in Ontario. In Anishinaabemowin, Skode means fire! Indigenous entrepreneurs, non-profits and community groups were encouraged to apply and share the fire within their hearts.

Congratulations to the 2022 Skode Program winners who were selected at a virtual pitch session held March 29. The 2022 Indigenous Tourism Skode Program winners are:

  • Caley Patrick Doran – Take-A-Hike Trail Guide
  • Kevin Lamarr, Mandi Montour & Sarah Yankoo – INDIGIMaps
  • Norm Dokis – Camp Petawachuan
Each will receive a $5000 non-repayable financial contribution, mentorship, plus additional ITO and partner support to advance their new tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level.

We are extremely proud of this year’s 2022 Skode Winners. ITO couldn’t be more impressed with the outstanding ideas and innovative spirit shown by this year’s winners. We can’t wait to be a part of their exiting journey.” – Kevin Eshkawkogan, President & CEO of Indigenous Tourism Ontario.

Read the full press release here.
Celebrating ITO Director of Operations, Leni Brem!
Join us in celebrating Leni Brem, Director of Operations at ITO for this very well-deserved recognition from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

Tenacious in her approach, Leni has exponentially grown the ITO network and fostered a number of strategic partnerships across the province in just 2 years. With a background in tourism, hospitality, agri-food, and events, her invaluable perspectives and contributions have set the stage for ITO’s long-term sustainability; ensuring that we can continue to support Indigenous entrepreneurs in Ontario now and in the future. 

In her current role, Leni is proud to work with a passionate and talented network of colleagues, partners and operators dedicated to ensuring authentic Indigenous tourism experiences have meaningful representation in Ontario’s destination identity.

As part of her personal journey to listen and learn in all areas of life, Leni is committed to education on anti-racism and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. While the journey continues, Leni seeks to put learning into practice by actively working to create a more equitable and inclusive tourism industry.

We are truly grateful that she is part of the ITO community.
Three Ideas for Featuring the Staycation Tax Credit in Your Content Marketing
The top performing travel story on theglobeandmail.com from the past year is titled, ‘How to make the most out of the new Ontario staycation tax credit’. It performed 23,000% better than the average travel story by page views.

It’s the perfect example of a piece of content that educates, inspires and potentially leads to conversion among readers. Here are a few ideas for including the staycation tax in your content marketing.

Focus: Awareness (Inspiration)
Produce a short blog or social media post (on your most popular platforms) that share the facts about the staycation tax credit to educate your audience. No hard sell here: This is all about passing along useful information to your potential customer pool while reminding them that your brand is a wealth of travel information which, down the line, could inspire them to drop by for a visit.

Tip: Link to relevant articles by reputable online sources such as theglobeandmail.com to support your SEO strategy.

Focus: Consideration (Planning)
Create a weekend trip guide designed to make the most of the staycation tax credit that allows you to integrate your own brand alongside a number of other partners and non-competitive vendors. The focus of this content needs to be on providing value to your audience, not just self-promotion: What would make this the best two-day trip to your region, based on your expert knowledge of the area?

Tip: Take this one piece of content and repurpose it across all your social channels. A weekend trip guide works just as well as an Instagram carousel post, a long-read blog post, or an engaging TikTok video.

Focus: Conversion (Booking)
Identify a natural opportunity to mention how customers can frequent your business as part of their staycation plans. If you run an accommodation that qualifies for the credit, call that out. If your business does not qualify directly, this could be an opportunity to run a “staycation” themed promotion or discount code, even as a restaurant, activity or gift shop.

Tip: Conversion tactics often aren’t content pieces on their own, but they make for great calls to action (CTAs) at the end of an inspiration or planning-focused piece, encouraging customers to make the connection between your content and your business.

Written by: Jessica Robinson, content lead at Globe Content Studio, the content marketing division of The Globe and Mail.
How to Fully Benefit From Your ITO Membership
New Blog Post! Learn how to fully benefit from your ITO 2022-2023 membership! This blog post highlights key member benefits to ensure you are making the most of it.
The Sharing Circle is a space for long form blog posts about Indigenous tourism business development. Through the power of storytelling and sharing lessons learned, our authors will recount tourism-related tales from their perspectives to educate, celebrate, and ignite conversation amongst the ITO community. 

Check out The Sharing Circle blog 

      Indigenous Tourism Ontario
      1300 Hwy 540
      4 directions Complex Unit 4
      Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ontario

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