Product Development & Workforce Resources

Use the resources below to help build your tourism product, event, experience and workforce. For more information on these resources, contact Joanne Wolnik.


Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab:

Do you have a new tourism idea or experience you’re trying to introduce? The Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab is looking to help take your idea to the next level. This new tourism incubator’s goal is to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas that will enhance the region’s current offerings and increase visits. The new “Spark” program will match selected participants with an industry mentor and provide a $3,000 grant to help take their idea to the next level of development or implementation. Participants also gain access to a network of tourism innovators and entrepreneurs and receive a guide outlining other supporting resources provided by their partners.


The Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab is a big step forward in development for the region and is valuable for bringing more tourism revenue into the region. This initiative is being led by Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island and will begin in Windsor Essex Ontario before being expanded to other regions in the province next year. Applications from individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations based in the city of Windsor and/or the County of Essex will be accepted from June 12 to August 1, 2018. The chosen applicants will be invited to a pitch session in October where the program participants will be selected.


For more information visit


ZingTrain Webinars Now Available for Download

As you may know, we recently teamed up with ZingTrain to host a three-part webinar series to help prepare your staff to welcome tourists back in Ontario’s Southwest this season.


The 3 webinars were:

Building a Culture of Great Service

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3 Steps to Giving Great Customer Service

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5 Steps to Handling Customer Complaints

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Here is a folder full of bonus materials that were mentioned in the training.


Tourism-Orientated Directional Signage (TODS) Program Review; Final Results

Over the past year and a half, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) have been engaging with tourism partners to review the Tourism-Oriented Directional Signage (TODS) program.  Ontario’s Southwest had by far the highest participation rate in this review and we would like to thank everyone who shared their comments.  Based on this feedback, MTCS will be implementing program adjustments to strengthen the program.  Improvements will included:

  • Extending full signing opportunities to campgrounds on freeways to permit the full spelling of a campground’s name
  • Allowing more rural downtowns, trail access points, museums and cultural centres to qualify for signage
  • Allowing tourism-designated outlet malls and regional travel information centres to apply for TODS signage on roadways
  • Strengthening program awareness and service delivery

For more information on the TODS program and the service review click here, or contact Joanne at


Bill 148 Handbook for Small Business

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is intended to balance employee rights and economic growth by updating workplace laws across Ontario. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and MNP LLP has written a handbook outlining the potential risks employers can expect from Bill 148, and offers human resources and operational strategies to help mitigate the impact. The handbook outlines the impacts businesses are likely to see from the numerous changes.


Click here to read the handbook.


Starting a Craft Brewery in Ontario Guide

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has release a guidebook to starting a craft brewery in Ontario. Find helpful info including writing business plans, financing, marketing, support, regulations, and more.


Click here to access the guide.


Alcohol Service at Festivals and Large Public Events

Visit the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to view current information regarding safe Alcohol service and Special Occasion Permits (SOPs) for Festivals or Large Public Events.


Sustainable Festivals Toolkit

Festivals and events play an important role to the tourism industry. Take a look at our Sustainable Festivals Toolkit for festival trends, best practices, and ways to grow your tourism festival.


Package Development Materials

Looking to create tourism packages for your business? Learn more about packaging, how to find the right partners, and how to develop the operations plan and programming behind the package using the information below.


Ontario By Bike

Over the past 5 years, Ontario’s cycle tourism sector has grown significantly. Tourism business have been recognizing how this impacts their business, and many in the region are becoming ‘Bicycle Friendly’ through Ontario By Bike. To learn more about this program, see the Ontario By Bike Cycling Tooklit.


Blue Flag Beaches & Marinas

Blue Flag is a highly respected and recognized international eco-label. Blue Flags are awarded to beaches and marinas that meet strict criteria for water quality, environmental education, environmental management, and safety and services. Learn more about getting your beach or marina certified.


Agri-Tourism Toolkit

There are many different things that need to be considered when entering into the agri-tourism industry. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs  has developed a series of resources and tools to help agri-tourism operators in the region evolve and grow their business.


The Canadian Tourism Commission

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is Canada’s national tourism marketing organization. A federal Crown corporation of the Government of Canada, they lead the Canadian tourism industry in marketing Canada as a premier four-season tourism destination where travellers can enjoy extraordinary experiences. Access some of their resources developed for the tourism industry below:


For businesses interested in learning how to capture the hearts and minds of international travellers, the CTC’s Experiences: A toolkit for partners of the CTC (2nd edition) can help you to develop and deliver the types of compelling experiences today’s travellers are seeking.


The EQ toolkit was designed to help operators find and keep their best customers, and help you design great tourism products and packages.


OTMPC Packaging Handbook

Interested in learning more about packaging your tourism experience. Access the OTMPC Packaging Handbook.