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Money doled out to attract tourists

Tourism-promoting groups in Island County received a boost in November as the Board of Island County Commissioners dispersed its yearly allotment of lodging tax funds.

The commissioners delegated $21,296 of $110,000 in revenue from the Island County basic 2 percent hotel-motel tax for tourism promotion to the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

The money will fund ferry brochures, off-island advertising, tourism strategy and support and the “WOW” Wagon at Deception Pass, said Jill Johnson, executive director of the chamber.

The commissioners spread the $110,000 among 15 different groups.

Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce received $21,296; Camano Island Chamber received $18,392; Langley Chamber of Commerce $17,908; Freeland Chamber of Commerce $12,894; Clinton Chamber of Commerce $5,014; Pacific Northwest Art School $2,640; Greenbank Farm Management Group $1,672; Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens $1,584; Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association and Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, $1,232 each; and the Island County Historical Society Museum received $1,144.

The tourism promotion funding is generated by Island County’s 2 percent lodging sales tax. The tax’s revenue is earmarked for organizations that provide programs to lure visitors to the county and is distributed by the county on an annual basis.

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