NEW Ontario Tourism & Travel Small Business Support Grant Portal Now Open
The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant portal is now open for applications. The grant provides one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and travel sector. $100 million will be flowing directly to tourism businesses that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This important investment will not only secure jobs and businesses in the tourism industry, but also ensure that the tourism industry is best placed to lead economic resurgence in Ontario.

This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG). To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020. Small business owners can use the grant in whatever way makes the most sense for their business. Applications for this grant will close on June 25th, 2021. 

If you require assistance with the application process, ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA) are here to help Indigenous tourism operators identify eligibility, access and navigate financial resources and utilize business planning tools. For immediate support, please fill out the 5 minute online application to join the IBA Program and access these services free of charge.
Indigenous Business Advisory Program
Tailored to each business’ identified needs, ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs) are here to extend their paddles, work with operators one-on-one to navigate these unfamiliar waters and access necessary resources to survive. IBAs will serve as a single point of contact to help Indigenous tourism operators access financial resources, business planning tools, training and skills programs, marketing opportunities and more. Learn more about the IBA program details including eligibility and supports here. Last day to join the program is May 31st, 2021.


10 Days Left to Apply to the
Skode Program!
ITO and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab have partnered to launch the Skode Program, an initiative to spark new Indigenous tourism ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, language, cuisine and communities in Ontario.

The program matches selected applicants with a mentor and provides a $5,000 non-repayable contribution to help take new tourism ideas to the next level of development.

How to apply
  1. Prepare a 1,000 word maximum document with responses to the application questions found here
  2. Film a 1 minute maximum unedited, unproduced video introducing yourself, your business, and your new tourism idea.
  3. Submit your application to info@tourisminnovation.ca and include “Skode” in the subject line. IMPORTANT: Both the 1,000 word maximum document and 1 minute maximum video are required for a complete application submission. Incomplete applications or applications that are above the maximum word/time limits will not be reviewed. Applications are open until May 28 at 11:59pm. 
Did you miss the Skode info session? Watch the 14 minute recording now! Still have questions? Email Jasmine Burj, Director of Member Relations at ITO: jburji@indigenoustourismontario.ca  or Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead at Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab: info@tourisminnovation.ca.
1 Week Left:
Tourism Marketing
 Virtual Networking Event
Tourism Marketing: Virtual networking event presented by ITO, TIAO and ABM 

Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Time: 12:00 – 4:00pm EST

Join us on Wednesday May 26th for the first of this 4 part series. Strong marketing efforts are a key component to renewing the tourism industry and ensuring your business can break through the noise and be top of mind when travel returns. This event series aims to connect tourism operators, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, tourism organizations, DMOs, RTOs, travel writers, magazines, newspapers, and much more. Conversations will include anything from enhancing brand identity to measuring marketing success.

Members of ITO and TIAO as well as Indigenous youth attend events in this series for free! Stay tuned for more event series from ITO, TIAO & ABM coming soon!
Register now for
SSIF Culinary Workshops!
For the second year in a row, Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF) is bringing you plenty of fun-filled virtual workshops for the whole family to enjoy! You can register now for one or more Indigenous culinary workshops. Pick from a selection of workshops and enjoy a night of scrumptious smoked elk rack of ribs, pan seared pickerel, curried caribou meal or an Indigenous family meal of fish tacos. SSIF will send you the meal kit of your choice.

June 6: Discover Traditional Teas with Chef Paul Owl
June 6: Curried Caribou Meal with Chef Trudy Metcalfe-Coe
June 13: Seared Rainbow Trout with Sweet Corn Succotash with Chef Joseph Shawana
June 20: Seared Venison Frenched Rack with Black & Blue Sweetgrass Sauce with Chef Billy Alexander
June 21: Homemade Fish Tacos with Hominy Corn Salsa with Chef Justine Deschenes
Indigenous Tourism in Ontario
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2021
Time: 10:30am EST

In partnership with ITO,
Tourism Thunder Bay presents Indigenous Tourism in Ontario, a conversation with Kevin Eshkawkogan, President and CEO of ITO. Residents in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area are invited to join in on the opportunity to learn more about ITO’s work and the impacts and opportunities that Indigenous tourism development has in Ontario and across Canada. Register here.
TIAC Town Hall
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Registration is open for the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) AGM, Regional Tourism Organization 9 (RTO 9) AGM & Tourism Industry Association of Canada town hall! Join virtually on June 1st for individual sessions or the full event. Agenda is as follows:

TIAO AGM: 1:00pm – 1:45pm EST
RTO 9’s AGM: 1:45pm – 2:30pm EST
Break: 2:30pm – 3pm EST
TIAC Town Hall:  3:00pm – 5:00pm EST


Indigenous Eats in Ontario
Not Just Delicious
A reflection of land and place, Indigenous foods and beverages in Ontario offer one of the most intimate forms of cultural exchange that visitors can have. Not only is it delicious… Indigenous food provides a unique tourism offering and educational tool that showcases diverse Indigenous cultures, stories, and peoples in Ontario. Check out Culinary Tourism Alliance’s (CTA’s) article that features some of the many incredible Indigenous food experiences across Ontario 
A Journey Through Indigenous Art in Canada
In partnership with the National Geographic, Destination Canada created this video to bring viewers on a journey through Indigenous art in Canada and meet the artists who share their stories and what it means to sustain their culture. 

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

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