Ignite -Activating the Potential for Experiential Tourism in Rural Canada

South River (Northern Algonquin Provincial Park), Ontario

May 12 - 16, 2019

Learn to achieve extra-ordinary things that differentiate your tourism offerings!

Do you know what makes your region special? Do your tourism industry stakeholders share that vision?Learn to deliver memorable experiences that focus beyond what the visitor can see and do by harnessing the unique assets of the community in its people, culture, and regional identity.

Does your community share a vision of excellence and collaborate to deliver extra-ordinary experiences? Bring your visitor economy stakeholders together in harmony, celebrating the unique skills talents and abilities of each individual, each organization, and work with your tourism industry allies to achieve extra-ordinary things that no-one can compete with. 

Our host location, Northern Edge Algonquin is a cauldron of creativity where new ideas about tourism can be explored, new partnerships formed and new experiences created and brought to market.  

IGNITE is a three day experiential learning retreat (spread over 4 days) designed for rural tourism businesses and communities.  IGNITE training is experiential and combines elements of a best practice mission, community development and experiential travel training. 

The Program, taking place from May 12 – 16, 2019, involves a combination of physical activity, cultural interaction and engaging with companies who are well known and respected in the Explorer’s Edge region of Ontario.

Raise the bar and demonstrate excellence by developing new and enhanced tourism experiences. 

The IGNITE Best Practice Mission provides guidance, support and encouragement with inspiring new experiences and workshop elements to seed the development of new and enhanced tourism experiences by you and your allies.

You will learn first hand from presenters and experience providers how to engage your community:  farmers, musicians, chefs, artists and artisans, guides, naturalists, magicians, yoga teachers, product manufacturers, craft food and beverage producers, foresters, fishermen, athletes and make use of under-utilized community assets to tell your story.

Ignite Learning Objectives:

  • Gaining an empathic understanding of the desires of different types of travelers and their reasons for visiting.
  • Sharing innovative “experience facilitation methods” that bring out the best in each individ- ual and your community.
  • Understanding the importance of knowing your neighbours – what your regional assets truly are. Appreciate the magic in their own backyards waiting to be shared with guests.
  • Establish new relationships by experiencing an unplugged, no distractions environment for community growth and building trust with structured and unstructured social time for com- munity team-building.
  • Exploring where we are and where we want to be; collaborating with tourism allies and col- laborative partners and learning how best to work together, learning from one another.
  • Appreciating why attention to detail and quality are critical ingredients to success.
  • Gaining new perspectives through the eyes of the artisan, farmer, chef, musicians, guides, etc.
  • Northern Edge Algonquin is unlike any other venue available for tourism training. The Edge is a private, off-the-grid, unplugged location, with no cellular service and internet / phone access that is reserved for emergencies. There are no distractions, just you and your co- horts exploring new ideas about tourism, establishing new partnerships and designing new experiences for your region.
  • Sharing a unique learning environment with interactive tourism experiences with community tourism partners from Almaguin Highlands, team and individual think sessions, formal and informal dialogue among attendees, product development and planning sessions. (Think about it. Talk about it. Do it.)
  • Establishing a community resource inventory identifying your traditional and non-traditional tourism assets: stages, talent (hosts, storytellers, actors, artists, crafters & performers), lo- cal activities, local props (locally grown, locally produced, offering a taste of this place, something to take home), hosts (places to rest your head, be fed local amazing food), and events.
  • Identifying your ideal guests and appreciating regional marketing themes, ideal guest pro- files and discovering their desired travel experiences.
  • Exploring the economics of experiences and the world of pricing.
  • Interviewing people on the ground in our rural community to discuss how their peers can be found and engaged in tourism within your own community.
  • Creating an experience by interviewing experience providers and planning an experience with their colleagues.
  • Participating in follow-up coaching conference calls in a process of continual improvement
  • Celebrating Success.

Target Participants

Community tourism development is most successful when it engages traditional and non-traditional partners and community tourism enablers. Ideally, attendees come as clusters of people who can support one another after the training. Attendees can represent a mix of: traditional and non-traditional tourism businesses including: accommodation providers, food service providers, tour operators, community cultural, artistic, recreation representatives, retail, visitor services / municipality staff, DMO representatives, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement Association members, Federal/Provincial economic development staff.


Participants are expected to cover the costs of their flights, hotels and meals, while the Tourism Best Practice program will cover the costs for local transport, experiences and group excursions.  Estimated costs for participation in this mission for flights, hotels and meals is $1800 – 2000. Those who qualify are eligible for 50% reimbursement up to a maximum of $1500.

Our Host and Destination

We will pick everyone up at the Toronto Pearson airport on May 12th at 12:00 pm to travel to our host Todd Lucier’s award winning off grid eco-lodge – Northern Edge Algonquin. A leader in transformational travel, Northern Edge Algonquin creates & hosts all-inclusive nature retreats for small groups of 10-35 participants.  Guests unplug in nature for multi-day experiences at the Ontario Retreat Centre that reconnect, recharge, and re-inspire.  Sleep comfortably (please note that we will be sharing cabins) in cabins designed in harmony with the forest home, nourish yourself with foods crafted with care, and participate in tailored experiences with locals including storytellers, artists, musicians, naturalists, yoga and wellness facilitators, food growers and chefs.

May 13, 14, 15 & 16 will be a series of onsite experiences and presentations from community partners that demonstrate the strength of collaboration and will get you thinking about how to grow your communities tourism potential.  We will leave Northern Edge after lunch on the 16th and arrive back in Toronto around 5 pm.  We will reserve a block of rooms at local airport hotel or those who wish can fly out on the 16th after 5 pm.


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