The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), along with The Classic Center and Classic Center Cultural Foundation (CCCF), have established a matching grant program to assist local tourism partners in developing new tourism products and experiences that will attract new overnight visitors to Athens-Clarke County. Up to $15,000 may be granted as a one-to-one match to one or more selected applicants. A total of $15,000 is available for this grant program in FY17.
An investment in tourism means big dividends for the community: a stronger, more diverse economy, an influx of substantial revenue, increased sales tax collection, and an improved quality of life for Athens residents who share in the variety of restaurants and retail operations, cultural and recreational attractions, and entertainment that are supported and sustained through visitor spending.
- All application materials must be received by 5 p.m. on April 17, 2017. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
- Award notices will be made on or before May 15, 2017.
The Athens CVB will convene a product development grant selection panel to review all qualified applications. The panel will consist of the CVB Director, CVB Marketing & Communications Director, CVB Advisory Board Chair, Classic Center Executive Director, Classic Center Cultural Foundation Director, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development Regional Tourism Project Manager.
Qualifications & Requirements:
- Applicants must be based within Athens-Clarke County.
- Organizations must have been in business at least two years.
- Matching grant funds are capped at $15,000 per applicant per fiscal year. A total of $15,000 is available through this program, and may be distributed among several applicants.
- Grant funds are meant to enhance, not replace, existing product development funds.
- Promotion of tourism product must be targeted outside of Athens-Clarke County. Adhering to this requirement encourages the investment of new out-of-area tourist dollars into the local economy rather than moving around discretionary entertainment dollars available to Athens residents.
- Tourism product must show the potential to generate overnight hotel stays.
- Athens CVB and grant committee must review and give advance approval on funded marketing activities, including advertisements, flyers, posters, programs, websites, and digital marketing.
- Sponsoring organizations of this grant must be recognized via logos and website URLs. Minimum allowable sizes will be noted. All applicants must use the logo and taglines appropriately. Those who fail to do so will result in a denial of payment.
- Ability to draw visitors from outside Athens-Clarke County.
- Ability to grow, with or without funding support, over two or more years.
- Ability to project a positive image of Athens-Clarke County through media activities and promotional efforts.
- Projected number of attendees or participants.
Examples of Eligible Tourism Products:
- New themed tour.
- Music-themed mural.
- Production of promotional pieces to be distributed outside of Athens-Clarke County, including brochures, posters, direct mail pieces. Applicants must be specific on production costs and methods of distribution.
- Creation of a new visitor experience at an existing attraction.
Examples of Ineligible Expenditures:
- Annual operating expenses or staff salaries.
- Fees paid to third party vendors, consultants, or professional services.
- Expenses incurred or obligated prior to or after the funding period. Invoices paid outside of contract period.
- Travel, accommodations, or personal expenses for staff or board members.
- Mileage or gas expenses due to distribution of materials.
- Value of in-kind promotional costs, such as providing tickets to media outlets for contests or PR campaigns.
- Advertising or promotional pieces placed within Athens-Clarke County.
Funding & Reimbursement:
- All grant funds are available on a reimbursement basis only.
- All reporting requirements must be satisfied in order to receive reimbursement.
- Copies of paid invoices, cancelled sheets, printed samples, or other backup information which shows proof of payment must accompany all requests for funds.
- All requests for reimbursement must be received in a timely fashion.