RTO12 is now exploring Fiscal 20/21 Partnerships

Since 2013, in addition to providing its core funding, the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries has allocated specific additional funds for the Regional Tourism Organization (RTO) to partner with tourism stakeholders on projects that align with the strategies and objectives identified in the RTO’s annual Business & Operational Plan (BOP).  RTO12/Explorers’ Edge has administered over 150 successful partnerships region-wide since the inception of the additional funding.

For Fiscal 2020 / 2021, the RTO’s BOP sets an ambitious a new mission for the organization as our industry continues to navigate the detrimental effects of the pandemic. In short, the Board of Directors intends that RTO12 will become a leading Destination Development Organization in Canada by implementing a regenerative tourism strategy, in order to lead the industry with recovery, rebuilding and resiliency moving forward.

By implementing strategic initiatives (short and long-term) that consider economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts, we will ensure our communities will thrive well into the future and regardless of economic or natural disasters (i.e. flooding, wildfires, etc.) that may occur.

Click here to download the F20/21 BOP and please review before submitting any partnership proposal to ensure alignment of objectives.

The RTO will consider partnerships that potentially align with our ‘region-centric regenerative tourism approach’, thus creating innovative opportunities for industry sustainability, wider community development, and organization stability.

To speak to someone further about this initial intake of proposals or the program itself, please contact James Murphy, Executive Director: [email protected]

The Process

Potential partners must first fill out an intake form online to articulate their Partnership proposal. As an initial screening process, the online intake form will help identify criteria alignment and will trigger communication with the RTO executive director, who will then be in contact to flesh out the idea further. Once these steps have been achieved and if the proposal is strategically aligned, it will be presented to the RTO12 Board of Directors for discussion and final approval.

Please note that, due to Ministry requirements, the Partnership Program requires third-party execution and delivery of each project. As such, projects that are approved will need to meet the competitive process guidelines mandated by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (i.e. a minimum of 3 written quotes, etc.).

Once a partnership is approved, a Memorandum of Understanding or Partner Agreement for a project-sharing scenario will be drawn up and signed, clearly articulating the project deliverables, partner roles and responsibilities, resource requirements, timelines, and performance measures. The minimum partner contribution to the agreed budget is %50, as will be outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding or Partner Agreement.

It then requires four to six weeks to receive the necessary approvals from the RTO 12 Board of Directors and from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Culture Industries. If approved, the RTO 12 will work closely with the partner to administer the project and to ensure that deliverables are met and outcomes achieved.


Due to the high volume of partnership proposals received by RTO12, as well as the time required for vetting and execution, the cut off deadline for applying for Partnership funds for the remainder of Fiscal 20/21 is Friday, OCTOBER 29, 2021 at 4pm.

To submit an initial Partnership proposal:

To speak to someone further about this program, please contact James Murphy, Executive Director: [email protected]