Tourism Promotion Area Funding Information

A brief history of the Spokane Tourism Promotion Area (TPA):

The TPA was created as a mechanism to provide targeted funding to help Spokane County compete with other cities to gain overnight visitors.  The purpose of the TPA fund is to grow our tourism economy through increased visitor spending in Spokane County lodging establishments as well in retail, restaurant, transportation, attraction and other hospitality establishments.  

In 2004, Spokane-area lodging establishments petitioned Spokane County to establish a TPA assessment collection began in June of 2004.  State RCW 35.10 provides the legislation for TPAs.

TPA funds are made available through the support of Spokane County, City of Spokane Valley and City of Spokane lodging businesses.

The rate is $2 per room night, collected by lodging establishments from direct charges to overnight visitors. TPA funds are an assessment, not a tax, added to the cost of a hotel/motel room with permission from the Spokane Hotel and Motel Commission.

NOTE: “Lodging Tax” is a rebate from the sales tax collected on room sales, returned to the city/county to help promote tourism.  These are separate funds from TPA funds, with different rules for use and different advisory commissions.

Why tourism is important.  ¹Visitor spending in Spokane County was approximately $1,358.3 billion in 2017. This spending supports more than 10,700 jobs in the local tourism industry and generated $109 million in non-resident tax revenues collected in Spokane County. 

The County has contracted with Visit Spokane to act as the administrative manager for the TPA.  As manager we:

  • Ensure compliance with all regulations
  • Develop annual estimate of income and budget
  • Administer contracts with funded agencies
  • Perform administrative duties for the Spokane Hotel and Motel Commission

The Spokane Hotel and Motel (TPA) Commission is made up of eight members, representing the three jurisdictions.  Members are hoteliers appointed by City and County elected officials.   This Commission evaluates applications for funding and makes recommendations to the County for fund disbursements.

¹Source: Dean Runyan Associates County Travel Impacts 2017p

Contacts:

Visit Spokane               

            Maureen Dodroe           mdodroe@visitspokane.com     742-9380           General questions

            Jamie Rand                   jrand@visitspokane.com         742-9373           Marketing Support

 

Spokane Sports Commission    

            Ashley Blake                 ashleyb@spokanesports.org     893-5449           Marketing Support

 

County Ordinance 4-0141, section 4 reads as follows:

USE OF SPECIAL ASSESSMENT REVENUES FOR THE PROMOTION OF TOURISM AND CONVENTION BUSINESS IN SPOKANE COUNTY.

   The revenues from the Special Assessment levied by Spokane County on the Operators of Lodging Businesses situated within the Spokane County Tourism Promotion Area shall be used for the following purposes only:

  1. The funding of all activities and expenditures designed to increase tourism promotion and convention business within Spokane County as specified in the Spokane County Tourism Promotion Area Budget.
  2. The marketing of convention business that benefits local tourism and lodging businesses in Spokane County.
  3. The marketing of Spokane County to the travel industry in order to benefit local tourism and lodging businesses within the Spokane County Tourism Promotion Area.
  4. The marketing of Spokane County to recruit major sporting events in order to promote local tourism and to benefit lodging businesses within the Spokane County Tourism Promotion Area.

 

2019 TPA Grant Application Information

We are pleased to announce TPA funds totaling $50,000 are available to award to local events for the year 2019.  Events to occur from January 2019 through December 2019. 

I. Fund Use Guidelines (Spokane County ordinance 4-0141):

  • Funds must be used to market the destination to new and repeat business.
  • Funds must be used for a convention, sports or tourism related activity, either new or on-going.
  • The objective must be to incrementally increase visitors who consume overnight accommodations.
  • Funding of activities designed to increase tourism promotion and convention business in Spokane County.
  • Market conventions and business that benefits local tourism and the lodging business.
  • Market Spokane County to the travel industry.
  • Recruit major sporting events to Spokane County.

II. Events must work with Visit Spokane and/or the Spokane Sports Commission on the marketing focus:

  • Destination positioning
  • Website Content, e.g. Special Offers
  • Organization newsletters
  • Calendar of Events
  • Ad Campaigns
  • PR & Social Media

III. Tips for a successful bid – IMPORTANT!

  • Applicants are urged to request exactly what is needed for their projects and not to inflate requests.It is the goal of the Hotel-Motel Commission to make full grants rather than dilute projects with partial grants.
  • Estimate return on investment (ROI). This is the ROI on travel-related economic impact, i.e. room nights, visitor spending.
  • Tell how you will generate and report room nights.What is your tracking system going to be
  • Set up special rates, codes with hotels.
  • Is the event scheduled for “off” season or a slow period? This can be beneficial.
  • Know what percentage of attendees will require rooms.
  • Know what area of Spokane County will be most utilized.
  • Indicate how hotels will be promoted.
  • Indicate other sources of funding that will be used and how much.
  • Will your event create new room nights or is it a continuation of an existing event?
  • Will the event discontinue without TPA funds?
  • Award recipients must include on all promotional materials:
  • Visit Spokane website (www.visitspokane.com)
  • TPA funding/logo – The TPA logo will be made available to recipients.
  • Recommend using Spokane Region brand logos
  • Applications not meeting the above requirements will be kicked back for revision and consideration.

IV. Application timeline:

1. Complete application and submit 12 copies to Visit Spokane

* Due date: Friday, November 16, 2018

2. Funding applications will be considered for recommendation by the Spokane Hotel and Motel (TPA) Commission at a meeting in December 2018, time, date and location TBA.  Applicants will be allowed 5-10 minutes for presentation followed by Q&A with the Commissioners. 

      * Presentation date: December 2018 – TBA, you will be notified of the date in advance.

3. The Commission evaluates applicants on a point system to determine TPA funding awards

* Award notification will be made at the end of all presentations.This notification indicates a recommendation to the Spokane County Commissioners who make final approval.

4. Contracts between award recipients and Spokane County will be executed as soon as possible, usually 45-60 days following the award notification announcement.

* The contract will be specific in that expenditures must be used only for marketing of approved projects and for the services set forth in the Summary Project section of the application/contact.

* Upon event completion, award recipients must send a request for funds disbursement to the TPA Manager who will forward the request to Spokane County for payment.

* Certified requests for grant funds can be made after contracts are executed and funds are spent in conjunction with the services described in the contract.

* Any changes to the original application/contract must be requested in writing to the TPA commission and approved.

5. Award recipients must provide a post-event final report detailing results.  Due date will be noted on the contract.

Click HERE to download the 2019 TPA Grants Application

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