Project proposals sparking tourism may get HOT funds

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The Wood County Industrial Commission is asking for Hotel / Motel Occupancy Tax fund project proposals to consider for funding support for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Projects must meet the following criteria: directly enhance and promote tourism and the hotel / motel industry in Wood County; fit into one of the six statutorily provided categories for expenditure of local hotel occupancy tax; demonstrate need and have the potential of attracting a maximum number of tourists to Wood County.

Guidelines and Funding Request Forms are available through the WCIC office. The forms provide examples of the types of projects that may be funded and can be obtained on the WCIC website at woodcountytx.com and can also be obtained contacting the WCIC office at 903-768-2402 or by email at woodcic@peoplescom.net.

“Projects that benefit just one area of Wood County may be given lesser priority whereas projects that generate more overnight visitors to the county may be given greater priority,” said Kiki Bettis, executive director of WCIC. “Successful proposals will clearly show how they plan to attract overnight visitors to Wood County.”

For projects that have been around for a while, Bettis said, “Survey data will be necessary in determining the merits of the project for funding support. New projects should include a good brief business plan and marketing strategy for bringing overnight visitors to Wood County. This assists us in determining the economic value of results generated and required local and state reporting of the distribution of Wood County HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) funds.”

According to Bettis, the resources in past years have supported more robust local project budgets however projected revenues indicate that these types of funds are becoming scarce.

“For that reason, the bar for qualifying projects will be high this year,” said Bettis. “Projects should support the lodging establishments in the county as that’s where these funds are generated from - ‘heads in beds’. More ‘heads in beds’ means additional HOT revenue and the opportunity to fund more projects the following year.”

The deadline for submitting applications is 5 p.m. on May 12. Applications may be mailed to the WCIC office at P.O. Box 578, Quitman, TX 75783 or by email to woodcic@peoplescom.net. Applications may also be delivered to the WCIC office located at the Wood County Airport Terminal located on County Road 2355 between Quitman and Mineola.

The WCIC Promotions Committee will review funding requests and forward recommendations for consideration and budget approval to the Industrial Commission’s Board of Directors at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting in July.

For information, contact Bettis at 903- 768-2402 or by email at woodcic@peoplescom.net.

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