Attract tourists, win cash

Does Island County need a blackberry festival? How about an international mustard drinking contest or a conference for massage therapists? A cross-island unicycle marathon for the elderly?

Now is your chance to request funding to get your tourism-promoting project off the ground. The Island County commissioners will begin accepting applications next week to give out cash from the tourism lodging tax. This is the first, or basic 2 percent hotel-motel tax, which brings in more than $70,000 a year.

The purpose of the tax is to support projects that attract visitors and encourage tourism expansion. The funds will be allocated to projects that provide a general benefit to the county and are expected to result in an economic benefit and return on investment.

The lodging tax advisory committee will evaluate the projects and make recommendations to the board of commissioners. Funding is available through an application process to private and public entities with a demonstrated ability to accomplish the proposed project.

The application process opens July 15. Applications must be received in the commissioners’ office by 4:30 p.m., Aug. 31, or be postmarked Aug. 31. Applications sent by FAX or email will not be accepted. Please call the commissioners’ office, at 679-7354, for an application or for questions. The forms are available electronically.

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