The new Travel Penticton Society is continuing the grants program supported by previous Penticton Tourism organizations.
Funding grants will be available in 2017 for festivals, events and tourism-related marketing projects. Any eligible groups are invited to apply for consideration.
Grant recipients last year included Challenge Penticton, Gran Fondo, Meadowlark Festival, arts festivals, and other events drawing visitors to Penticton.
External marketing is key to qualify for a grant; projects must attract visitors from outside of the Okanagan region and increase tourism visitation and spending. Matching funding provided to the marketing project will be up to a maximum of 50 per cent (taxes are not leveraged or funded).
Travel Penticton was created earlier this year from the merger of the Tourism Penticton Society and the Penticton Hospitality organization. Major funding for the society comes from the City of Penticton and the two per cent additional hotel room tax, which is worth about $450,000 annually.
Council gave three readings last week to a bylaw renewing that tax, also known as the Municipal Regional District Tax, for another five years. The bylaw fulfills one of the province’s conditions to collect the tax on the area’s behalf.
Renewing the MRDT for another five-year term also requires the approval of at least 50 per cent of local accommodators representing at least 50 per cent of the room inventory. The entire application package, from both the city and the accommodators needs to be filed by Jan. 1
Barb Haynes, co-chair of the Travel Penticton board, said everything is on track to meet that deadline.
“We will meet next week to hand off all the final documents we have,” said Haynes adding that they have the support of about 86 per cent of their membership, and about 80 per cent of the room inventory.
“I think the accommodators are feeling very optimistic,” said Haynes.
Full guidelines and the application form for Travel Penticton grants are available at www.visitpenticton.com/2017-grant-application. Applications must be received via email by no later than 4.30 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2017 and will be evaluated by the Travel Penticton board of directors and the executive director.