Tourism opportunities

Jan 15 • Feature Story, Viewpoint1 Comment on Tourism opportunities

Tourism is a growth sector of a healthy economy that can sometimes be overlooked when municipalities narrow their new jobs focus to the industrial or commercial sector.

Here in Chatham-Kent, we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by Great Lakes, a booming agri-industry and proximity to larger urban centres. We are also fortunate we have people who recognize the incredible and varied options for increased tourism activity across our municipality.

The recent Spark Program grants given out to three C-K groups with innovative and interesting ideas to draw tourists are a perfect example of helping locals create a unique experience or opportunity for bringing more people into C-K.

The more people you bring around, the more money that is spent locally, boosting our economy and creating jobs.

In its first year here in Chatham-Kent, the Spark project got its start as a pilot in the Windsor region, and based on the number of projects submitted and the quality of the winners’ submissions, boosting our tourism profile got a very healthy shot in the arm.

Spirit horses, forest therapy and a unique farm-to-table experience bring new and exciting things for local and out-of-town tourists alike to do in our area, helping to solidify our position as a tourism destination.

Each area of C-K offers unique and interesting options for people, from Bothwell to Wheatley, to Wallaceburg to Erieau and all in between – there are scores of places and activities to experience first hand.

The Spark program is giving locals an opportunity to dream big about new projects, and the $3,000 grant is a nice hand up to get each project going. Hopefully, the powers that be will see the benefit of the expanded pilot project and keep it going in our area.

There are so many creative and innovative people in Chatham-Kent with great ideas that just need that extra bit to help to get those ideas turned into concrete plans of action. With the help of programs such as Spark, and Chatham-Kent Economic Development and Tourism support, the sky is the limit for making Chatham-Kent a tourism mecca.



One Response to Tourism opportunities

  1. Scott Tate says:

    Mary Beth,
    Although I agree with the premise of your article in regard to the importance of tourism, I must disagree about the Spark Grant. The Spark grant gave out a told of $9,000 divided among 3 people. Dozens applied for it and spent hours writing a brief and doing a video only to have a handful go further and write another brief and compete in a live competition like Dragons Den. Beyond the $9,000 given out which is peanuts in terms of starting a business ‘idea” not the business, how many municipal staff hours were spent on this venture? What was the loaded labor rate to the local tax payer? I’ll bet it was beyond $20,000 to give out $9,000.
    Why not make it much simpler and randomly draw 3 names of people who submit ideas and give them the $3000 at least there wouldn’t be such a loaded hidden cost to giving out peanuts! Someone has been watching too much reality TV and needs to put some effort into delivering meaningful cost effective programs for change!

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