Application Deadline Approaching for County’s 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program
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Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development
The Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development encourages applications for the 2020 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program. Interested groups or organizations have until October 15, 2019 to submit applications.
Applications are available online at http://chautauqua.ny.us/688/Occupancy-Tax-and-Funding. Hard copies of the application are also available at the offices of the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development located at 201 15, in Jamestown, N.Y., during normal business hours.
The Tourism Product Development Grant Program is funded through the County’s 5% occupancy or “bed tax” for the rental of lodging units within the County. Three fifths (3%) of the revenue that is generated from this tax is utilized to increase tourism, conventions, trade shows, special events, and other directly related or supporting activities including business in the county. The two fifths (2%) bed tax is utilized solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and streams in Chautauqua County.
A portion of the 3% occupancy tax is intended to provide grants for projects that will achieve and/or support special tourism product and event development initiatives. Through this grant program, it is important to establish programs and opportunities that promote or support the development of specific themes or significant attractions and events that enhance the level of visitor experience in Chautauqua County.
“We encourage applications that promote new or expanded attractions, unique events, and projects that support tourism aspects of the County Comprehensive Plan and County Greenways Plan,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. “We would also like to see applications for creative initiatives that draw new visitors to our diverse attractions and communities.”
Programs and initiatives should help create destination awareness of Chautauqua County as a place to visit and/or improve the likelihood of repeat visits to the area. A key concern for the future of Chautauqua County’s tourism industry is to create and promote products and experiences that will attract more visitors, particularly for overnight visits and in the pre- and post-summer seasons. Grant funds are not intended for facility maintenance or long-term operational costs. The funds are intended to be developmental in nature. Applications also require a local match.
The 3% Program helps to fund the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County, as well as local attractions such as the Fenton History Center and the Historical Society of Dunkirk. Last year, the 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program provided grants to support six projects including: The National Comedy Center Marketing Campaign; the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel Fire and Ice Festival; the Farm-to-Table Culinary Weekend; the Wild America Festival; The Lucy-Museum Exhibit Development Project; and the Hello Jamestown Video Development Project. This, in turn, brought thousands of people into Chautauqua County to enjoy these unique attractions and events.
Applications for the 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program may be submitted by various groups and organizations, including: not-for-profits, governments, businesses/corporations, public or private schools, and all landowners of Chautauqua County.
“Chautauqua County already has a lot to offer visitors and tourists; however, we continually seek to develop and expand upon our existing events and destinations,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency. “The Occupancy Tax Program is one of many tools we have to develop quality tourism offerings, and I’m confident that future projects will help us to continue to grow the tourism industry here in Chautauqua County.”