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Tourism Incubator & Accelerator

Are you passionate about engaging with visitors and eager to offer them something unique to take away and tell their friends about when visiting your region? Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned professional, or simply enthusiastic about your region, if you are looking to enhance the tourism service you provide, UPLIFT's Tourism Incubator & Accelerator is designed for you! 

Vision & Mission

Expand local economic development by strengthening rural North Carolina tourism sites, attractions and businesses. The Tourism Incubator & Accelerator aims to support business owners as well site and attraction managers to scale and develop their operations. This 9-session program provides knowledge and skill development by industry experts to support rural tourism in North Carolina thrive and scale.

Key Takeaways:

  • Best practices in organizational management & operations.

  • Align your entrepreneurial mindset and habits (entrepreneurs in both business and non-profit settings).

  • Develop skills to establish or scale a tourism operation or activity.

  • Strengthen your network with other tourism organizations.

  • Establish and document plans for implementing your tourism vision such as customer profiles, mini-marketing strategy, funding strategy, risk management plan, etc. 


The target audiences for the Tourism Incubator & Accelerator are businesses, sites or attractions looking to scale or diversify their current operations as well as new tourism startups. Participants do not need to be physically located in UPLIFT's core regions, but all, or a significant portion of, the tourism services or activities offered by participating organizations/entrepreneurs should occur within the 'core' regions (see map of the regions on homepage). Each cohort will be limited to 20 enrollees.

Participants will be expected to attend the 'Understanding and Enhancing your Tourism Experience' in-person workshop in January 2024 and attend at least 7 of the 9 online Incubator sessions as well as relevant homework. The total time commitment is estimated at around 40 hours (including 1-on-1 mentor/support sessions after the webinars).

When & Where

The Tourism Incubator & Accelerator sessions have been strategically planned to occur weekly, every Tuesday evening for 9-weeks starting Tuesday February 6, 2024, ensuring a consistent and continuous focus on skill development, knowledge sharing, and fostering valuable networking opportunities.


Sessions will be conducted online to facilitate accessibility and flexibility. However, we also ask participants to attend the in-person 'Conceptualizing and Enhancing Your Tourism Experience' one-day workshop in January 2024 in your region (see schedule below), that works through the components needed to create or improve your tourism experience and is a good starter before initiating the online incubator sessions.  

After the conclusion of the Tourism Incubator & Accelerator sessions, one-on-one mentoring and support will also be provided and will be tailored to the specific needs of each participant. This may include specific support with management and operational needs, marketing, etc.

Incubator & Accelerator Schedule

Discover our Tourism Incubator & Accelerator Schedule offering nine expert-led sessions, all aimed at empowering rural North Carolina tourism organizations to thrive and grow.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining the Tourism Incubator & Accelerator program, please apply here:

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