Sustainable Tourism Grant Program
Tourism is an important part of the City of Grants Pass’ economic success and as such the City of Grants Pass designates 12 percent of eligible tourism funds to the Sustainable Tourism Grant program. This program supports promotional activities that will lead to sustainable tourism by attracting tourists and increasing overnight stays. Grants that focus on increasing tourism during off-peak periods, generate economic growth from tourists coming from outside a 50-mile radius, and provide increased economic benefit for local businesses and non-profit organizations are the most competitive. This program has a spring and fall cycle dependent upon available funds. Open call for applications will begin in March and September each year. Fall Cycle 2023 opens on September 5, 2023, and closes on October 13, 2023. The grants range from a minimum of $2,500 to $5,000. No match is required for the grant.
Some example project areas that will receive priority ranking may include:
a. Sustainable events – Events attracting people from outside the area leading to economic growth and potential to occur on a regular cycle (i.e. annually). These may include events in the areas of sport and athletics, arts and culture, food, industry-focused, conference/convention, community-focused celebration, etc.
b. Outdoor recreation - hiking, mountain biking, road biking, rafting, trail systems
c. Historically significant – museums, architecture, culturally significant sites, honoring historic industry (e.g. logging, mining, railroad, etc.)
d. Community-focused – Events unique to the Grants Pass area, highlighting local food and wares, ecology, environment, and biodiversity, connected to the community’s culture
e. Touring – guides, travel packages, agritourism
Grant applicants and corresponding grant applications must adhere to the following program requirements:
1. Grantee must be a registered business or non-profit organization
2. Grantee must be located within the City Limits or Urban Growth Boundary of the City of Grants Pass *
3. Expenses must be Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) eligible**
a. Promotional funds focused on:
1. Attracting people from more than 50 miles away; or
2. Leading to overnight stays
4. Grantees must submit the application to the City prior to the deadline, which is established each year by the City’s Economic Development Division. Late applications will not be accepted. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the grant review committee for consideration. Materials submitted beyond those required and listed on the application cover page and application form will not be forwarded to the grant review committee as part of the application packet.
* Case by case, applicants located within a 5-mile radius of the City limits may be considered with an additional justification statement submitted with the application
** The City of Grants Pass collects a 12 percent Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) from people who stay in overnight lodging within the City limits. The Disposition of Use of these funds, in accordance with ORS 320.350 and detailed in our Municipal Code 4.05.240, are designated proportionately to city services and the tourism program. Currently, 48.33 percent of that allocation is used to support City services, including Public Safety, Parks, Economic Development, and Downtown Development. The remaining 51.67 percent goes to our Tourism Program to support tourism-related facilities and tourism promotion. The City reserves 11.67 percent of the Tourism Program funds for the City’s Tourism-Related Facilities, which include the Downtown Welcome Center, Reinhart Volunteer Park, Riverside Park, and other infrastructure. Forty percent is designated for tourism promotion and of that amount 28 percent goes to Visit Grants Pass, the contracted Destination Management Organization (DMO). The Grants Pass City Council dedicated the remaining 12 percent of tourism-eligible funds to this Sustainable Tourism annual grant program. The amount of funding dedicated to this grant program is allocated prior to the beginning of each fiscal year by the City Council. The continuation of this program is based upon availability of TLT revenue and allocations will vary from year to year.
Applicants must complete an application and submit prior to the established deadline. The minimum grant request is $2,500 and the maximum is $5,000. Applications should include a realistic budget that justifies the amount requested and a strategy and the ability to complete marketing efforts to people more than 50 miles from Grants Pass.
Each application received will first be reviewed by the Economic Development Division staff for eligibility and completeness. Economic Development will provide guidance on applications if submitted a minimum of 14 days prior to the grant application deadline.
Applications determined to be eligible and complete will be forwarded to a Grant Review Subcommittee (GRS) consisting of 2 selected members of the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC), a representative from the Destination Marketing Organization, and 3 City staff. The GRS will use a scoring tool to rank applications and provide a recommendation to City Council for final approval. Grantees will be notified following final approval. Award funds will become available after July 1st of each year.
Once grant recipients are notified of their award with a letter from the Economic Development, marketing projects using grant funds can begin. Grant funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis, once final paid invoices, with appropriate documentation, are submitted to the City. Projects must be completed within one year of the award date. No funds will be disbursed for expenses incurred prior to official notification from the City’s Economic Division of the grant award.
Grant award recipients shall submit a written report to the City of Grants Pass at the end of the grant period. Report requirements include:
1. Financial summary of the utilization of grant funds towards the objectives set forth in the grant application.
2. Statistical summary of the positive economic and sustainable tourism impacts associated with the use of the grant funds. Applicants should provide data as a direct result of the City’s grant on one or more of the following outcomes:
- Number of people who traveled to Grants Pass from over 50 miles away
- Number of overnight stays in Grants Pass
- Number of jobs created
- The median wage of jobs created
3. Any other program or activity data associated with the grant award that is relevant to tourism and not addressed in the items above.
The Grant Completion report shall be submitted to the City Economic Development Department within 6 months following the end of the grant award period.
Complete applications must be submitted to the Economic Development Division by the closing deadline. Applications can be scanned and emailed to Dana Pearce, Economic Development Manager, at email@example.com, or a hard copy can be mailed to or dropped off at City Hall, 101 NW A Street #202, Grants Pass, OR 97526.