Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grant money awarded to local tourism offices

Idaho Travel Council distributes $3.67 million across Idaho


By AMY BUSEK
Express Staff Writer

    The annual grant awards from the Idaho Travel Council were announced Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the organization’s convention in Coeur d’Alene. Three local organizations received funding from the council: the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, the Stanley-Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.
    The Idaho Regional Travel and Convention Grant Program awards money, funneled through a statewide tourism tax, to nonprofit agencies statewide that promote tourism and market the state to visitors.
    “These grants support Visit Idaho’s core mission—to increase travel and visitor expenditures throughout all of Idaho in order to increase tax revenues and employment,” said Diane Norton, Idaho tourism manager.
    The $3.67 million distributed throughout Idaho for the upcoming fiscal year represents 45 percent of a 2 percent tax collected by Idaho hotel, motel and private campground owners. The total lodging tax collections for 2014 was just over $8 million, according to the Travel Council. Another 45 percent of the funds are used for statewide programs that assist consumers, tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists. The remaining 10 percent goes toward administrative salaries and costs.
    The Hailey Chamber of Commerce received $27,800, the Stanley-Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce received $36,400 and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance received $210,510.
    Arlene Schieven, president of the Marketing Alliance, said in an email to the Idaho Mountain Express that the marketing group received a little less money this year, mainly because there was an additional applicant in the region and the amount of funding had decreased. The Marketing Alliance received $222,400 last year, Schieven said.
Amy Busek: abusek@mtexpress.com




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