New tourism grants focus on improving the ‘visitor experience’
The first three recipients of a new tourism grant intended to “enhance the visitor experience in Oxford County” are expected to create 13 local jobs when their projects are up and running.
Golspie Dairy, a farm and cheesemaker on the outskirts of Woodstock, will be using its grant to help with the opening of a new cheese factory. Greener Pastures Eco Farm – also on the outskirts of the Friendly City – will be using the funding to improve ground conditions at their site for tours and camping. The final recipient, Snyder’s Family Farm, plans to use the grant money to create a new stage attraction at its Bright-area grounds.
“This program demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Oxford County. Selecting finalists was challenging due to the calibre of applications we received,” said Lindsay Wilson, a community economic development officer with Community Futures Oxford.
The three recipients were chosen from 11 applications received by the Tourism Oxford, Community Futures Oxford and Rural Oxford Economic Development, the program’s three partners. The projects were evaluated by judges from the Southwestern Ontario Tourism Corporation and the Travel Industry Association of Ontario on creativity, innovation, feasibility, and economic and community impact, as well as equity and inclusion.
“Oxford County is a region in Ontario filled with hope,” said Carol Greenwood, the vice-president of membership and business services for the Tourism Industry of Ontario. “The level of inspiration and entrepreneurs is impressive. In selecting the award recipients, we were challenged with the depth of presentations from brand new ideas to established organizations that were enhancing their products to be better.
“Each presentation shared the important of their community, sustainability and the value of collaboration. This is an art of Ontario to watch.”
Collectively, the three selected projects are expected to create 13 local jobs, support 25 local suppliers and welcome 5,000 tourists to Oxford County in 2022 while injecting more than $1.5 million in the local economy.