Tourism Office calls for applications to receive funding for events in Washington County

Washington County Tourism Director Kevin Lewis speaks at an event at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, March 26, 2019 | File photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Applications for funding are now open for tourism-oriented events in Washington County.

Washington County Tourism Director Kevin Lewis said the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office is using revenue from transient room tax assessed on tourist lodging to secure funding that will support events that stimulate the county’s economy by enticing visitors and increasing tourism. 

The county is employing a funding model called cooperative marketing, which Lewis said has proven to be effective because it allows the county to support events and activities organized by people who already know their market.

“It’s just a real economic driver to begin with,” Lewis said of the cooperative marketing concept.

According to the Tourism Office, preference for funding is given to nonprofit companies and events that spark economic growth and development, bring positive exposure to the area, introduce Washington County to a new audience and fill hotel rooms during times of lower occupancy.

Docutah and the True Grit Mountain Biking race are examples of events that have received funding in the past, Lewis said, explaining that events like these “help make Greater Zion a world-class destination” and support economic growth through funding generated by tourism. 

“These are events that are bringing people in from the outside area into the area,” he said. “They’re great events that also support what the locals are interested in, so residents can get involved in them. They’re targeted to the right kind of people.”

Funding will be drawn from the county’s transient room tax revenue, which may only be allocated to events, activities or projects that relate to tourism. According to the Tourism Office, funding is awarded to endeavors that “contribute to the safety, health, prosperity, moral well-being, peace, order, comfort, or convenience of county residents.”

Lewis said the Tourism Office currently has about $400,000 in funds available for events and activities.

Nonprofit and for-profit organizations can apply for event funding through Aug. 1. The Washington County Tourism Tax Advisory Board will review all applications and make a recommendation to the County Commission, which will decide the allocation of the awards. Funds will be awarded in September. 

Nonprofit organizations will have another opportunity to receive funding next year in February, with the funds being awarded in March.

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