JAMESTOWN, N.Y.: —The Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development encourages applications for the 2021 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program. Interested groups or organizations have until October 1, 2020 to submit applications.

Applications are available online at https://bit.ly/CHQTourismGrants. Hard copies of the application are also available at the offices of the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development located at 201 West Third Street, Suite 115, in Jamestown, N.Y., during normal business hours.

The Tourism Product Development Grant Program is funded through the County’s 5% occupancy or “bed tax” for the rental of lodging units within the County. Three-fifths (3%) of the revenue that is generated from this tax is utilized to increase tourism, conventions, trade shows, special events, and other directly related or supporting activities including businesses in the county. The two-fifths (2%) occupancy tax is utilized solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and streams in Chautauqua County. A portion of the 3% occupancy tax is intended to provide grants for projects that will achieve and/or support special tourism product and event development initiatives. Through this grant program, it is essential to establish programs and opportunities that promote or support the development of specific themes or significant events and attractions that enhance the level of visitor experience, and ultimately the number of visitors, to the County.

“Chautauqua County already has incredible tourism attractions; however, we continually seek to develop and improve upon our offerings to promote new and repeat visitations,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “We encourage applications that promote new or enhanced attractions, unique events, and projects that support tourism aspects of the County Comprehensive Plan, County Greenways Plan, and the recently completed Economic Development Strategic Plan.”

Programs and initiatives should help create destination awareness of Chautauqua County as a place to visit and/or improve the likelihood of repeat visits to the area. A key concern for the future of Chautauqua County’s tourism industry is to create and promote products and experiences that will attract more visitors, particularly for overnight visits and in the pre- and post-summer seasons.

Grant funds are not intended for facility maintenance or long-term operational costs; they are intended to be developmental in nature. Applications also require a local match.

Applications for the 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program may be submitted by various groups and organizations, including: not-for-profits, governments, businesses/corporations, public or private schools, and all landowners of Chautauqua County.

“The Occupancy Tax Program is one of the key tools we possess to develop and enhance the tourism and hospitality sectors here in Chautauqua County,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development. “We look forward to supporting the next round of projects, complimentary to our ongoing efforts aimed at assisting businesses get back on their feet amid the numerous closures and cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information, please contact Nate Aldrich at (716) 363-3672 or aldrichn@co.chautauqua.ny.us.