Airplanes, western music, and historic farming — that’s three of the tourism projects funded by the Tooele County Commission.
The County Commission approved $192,000 of tourism grant applications as recommended by the Tourism Tax Advisory Board during its meeting Tuesday night at the County Building.
Included in the grants approved Tuesday were $12,000 to Historic Wendover Airfield for out of county advertising for the Wendover Air show, up to $14,000 for post-performance reimbursement for the Western Music and Song Writers Series for out of county advertising and facility rental, $19,000 of post-performance reimbursements for the Clark Historic Farm in Grantsville with $7,000 of that to be used for out of county advertising, $5,000 for part-time labor, and $7,000 for miscellaneous projects.
Also included in Tuesday night’s grants were $1,500 for the National Pony Express Association, and $7,500 for the Utah Sport Bike Association — a non-profit organization that organizes education, safety and racing events at Utah Motorsports Campus. Half of the grant is to be used for out of county advertising and the other half to pay for travel incentives to help bring in riders.
The UMC Karting Center received a $35,000 post performance reimbursement grant contingent on providing Tooele County and the Tourism Tax Advisory Committee with a three-year business plan.
At Your Leisure, an outdoor and travel show that airs on KUTV, received $63,000 to produce a series of shows featuring Tooele County. The grant requires AYL to work with State Street Partners, the county’s contracted tourism consultant, to develop the content of the shows.
Transcript Bulletin Publishing received a $25,000 grant for printing and distributing the Tooele County Magazine Visitor’s Guide for out of county marketing. TBP also received a post-performance reimbursement grant of up to $15,000 to develop an online version of the visitor’s guide with trackable metrics.
This is the the third round of tourism grants approved by the County Commission. Including Tuesday night’s grants, the County has approved 27 grants totaling $297,789.
With a budget of $400,000 for tourism grants, the Tourism Advisory Board has a balance of $102,211 to award with two more applications to consider.
The requests included in those two outstanding applications total $140,435, according to Carrie Cushman, Tourism Tax Advisory Board chairperson.
The tourism tax fund receives revenue from a 1.0 percent tax on food purchased in restaurants and a 3.5 percent tax on lodging in motels and hotels.
State law requires that tourism tax dollars be used to promote tourism or for the maintenance and operation of tourism-related facilities.
The Tourism Advisory Board consists of representatives of motels, restaurants and local tourism industries and attractions. Its composition is specified in state law. State law requires the board weigh in on how tourism tax dollars are spent.
The county expects to take in almost $1.1 million in tourism taxes in 2019.
Criteria considered when evaluating grant requests include how well the project meets the state and county requirements for the use of tourism tax revenue, experience of the project manager in respects to the probability of the project being completed on time and on budget, the long term viability of the project including the possibility for future self-funding, the benefit provided to the community by the project, and the impact on tourism tax revenue, according to the online information provided by the County for grant applicants.
The Tourism Tax Advisory Board asks organizations that receive grants to submit a post-event report that includes information on attendance and where people came from by zip code, samples of advertising, how the project acknowledged funding from the county at their event, use of the county’s “So much, so close” brand, and how they marketed to an out of county audience, according to Cushman.