The newly-created Tourism Development Corp. of Cornwall (TDCC) has around $190,000 to spend on new tourism projects, and it is finally ready to accept applications.
The corporation manages the Tourism Development Fund, which contains half of the money from the four per cent accommodation tax on hotel stays the City of Cornwall introduced last year. The municipality keeps the other half to fund Cornwall’s tourism department, while the independently-run TDCC can distribute its funds to projects as it sees fit.
“The goal of the Tourism Development Fund will be to support events and initiatives that further develop and promote Cornwall’s tourism sector,” said Tim Mills, TDCC chair. “We look forward to seeing a variety of applications over the next few weeks and months.”
The law that allowed the city to introduce an accommodation tax required half the revenue go to a non-profit group independent of the municipality. This is something Cornwall did not have because the city had absorbed tourism as a municipal department after the dissolution of the former Cornwall and the Counties Tourism.
So although the tax was approved by city council in April of 2018, the last step required to create the TDCC was not completed until late last month. In the weeks since then, the TDCC found all the representatives from the tourist industry it needs to review the applications as a committee and is now ready to begin accepting proposals.
According to Mills, there are applicants who waited for many months for this moment to arrive.
“We’ve only just started, but you can be sure that a few people have got them in already. People were anxious and waiting, and we understand that,” said Mills.
The TDCC is planning to give out funding to tourism projects in grants of up to $20,000 each. But the board of directors is willing to consider larger sums if a project has the potential to significantly impact local tourism. Application forms are available on its website at www.cornwalltourism.com/tdf.
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To avoid the perception of bias, Mills would not go into what kinds of tourism projects he and the other board members would like to see. But did lay out some guidelines for anyone who plans to apply for money from the tourism fund.
The project should be able to increase tourism to Cornwall— ideally getting visitors who will stay overnight and spend money elsewhere in the city.
Proposals for one-off or irregular events are just as welcome to apply as ideas for new or existing annual events.
Proposals need to be “fiscally responsible” and should include a strong business plan.
All initiatives have to be located inside Cornwall’s boundaries and should reflect positively on the community and perhaps even attract outside media attention to the city.
The TDCC plans to begin approving the first round of projects by the end of this month, or in early August.
Application forms are available on the TDCC’s website, while physical copies can be picked up at the City of Cornwall offices on the second floor of the Cornwall Civic Complex.