Flagler tourism board OKs grant requests for 3 events

Flagler tourism board OKs grant requests for 3 events

According to an economic impact report, the events will result in direct visitor spending of $592,812 and an overall economic impact of $777,570.

Proving the adage you have to spend money to make money, the Flagler County Tourist Development Council approved three grant requests totaling $8,500 for events expected to generate more than $777,000 in economic impact.

Council members OK’d a $3,500 request for the Florida Flag Football League state finals slated for June 22-24; a $1,000 grant for Florida Xtreme Adventures Lighter Knot Adventure Race scheduled for Oct. 6; and $4,000 for a Paddle Florida event in November.

According to an economic impact report from the Flagler County Tourist Development Office, the three events will result in direct visitor spending of $592,812 and an overall economic impact of $777,570.

The flag football event has received TDC funding in the past, according to Matt Dunn, executive director of the Tourist Development Office, but this year’s request is lower than previous grants. He said the addition of a women’s tournament could bring more visitors to the county for the event.

“We’re hoping that the numbers rise a bit due to the women’s tournament,” he said. “We’ll see what kind of traction that gets.”

The Florida Xtreme Adventures event is being organized by a company that previously staged an event in the county, Dunn said, and is expected to attract 50 to 60 athletes.

The final event, Paddle Florida, is the first standalone event created by Flagler’s tourism office as part of a strategy to proactively seek out new business. Dunn said the hope is for the event to become an annual offering on the tourism calendar.

“This is the first event we created,” he said. “We’re hoping to grow the numbers a little bit this year.”

The events are expected to continue the momentum of bed tax collections, which provide the revenue for tourism-related grants. So far this fiscal year, bed tax collections  from area hotels, campgrounds and vacational rental properties are running 36.2 percent ahead of last year. Dunn said that figure is inflated because it represents the addition of a “fifth penny” in the bed tax, which was added in the middle of the fiscal year in 2017. If that is taken out, Dunn said the county is still nearly 10 percent ahead of last year’s bed tax collections so far.

The three grant requests must still be approved by the County Commission.

Dunn said another item up for consideration by county commissioners is a measure for the county to self-collect bed taxes rather than work through the state. That item is expected to come up before commissioners Monday.

TDC chairman Greg Hansen, who also chairs the County Commission, said the move to self-collection would be a boon to the county.

“It should make collections go up,” he said.