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Municipalities, for-profit, and nonprofit partners are invited to submit applications for the County’s 2025 3% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Tourism Product Development. Applications are now being accepted with a deadline to apply of October 1, 2024.

The Tourism Product Development Grant Program is funded through the County’s Occupancy Tax Program, often referred to as the “bed tax,” collected from our hotels and other lodging facilities within the County. Three-fifths of the revenue generated from this tax, which amounts to 60 cents from every dollar, is earmarked to bolster tourism through enhanced marketing efforts, new and improved events, and by enhancing attractions and promoting placemaking within the County. A portion of this is used for a competitive grant program, with awards up to $20,000, requiring a 1:1 match. Tourism Development Grants are awarded yearly based on a thorough project review and ranking process.

Projects and initiatives eligible for funding should contribute to promoting Chautauqua County as a desirable destination, aiming to increase visitor awareness and encourage repeat visits and overnight stays.

In past years, awards have been granted for a variety of projects, including turning a horse barn into an event and music venue, installing a kayak launch at Cassadaga Lake, supporting a national figure skating competition, festivals, shows and much more.

Julie Rockcastle, principal at PFM Ventures stated “The Occupancy Tax Grant helped us finish creating an event space just in time for the 2024 Solar Eclipse, where we hosted nearly 300 patrons from 11 states.”

According to Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, “The program has been very successful in helping our tourism and hospitality sectors advance transformative and catalytic programs and initiatives here in Chautauqua County. This year, we’ve increased the maximum award to $20,000, and in addition to funding events and marketing activities, we’re also emphasizing the program’s aim of enhancing attractions and promoting placemaking throughout the County.”

Applications for the 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program may be submitted by various groups and organizations, including: not-for-profits, government, businesses/corporations, public or private schools, and all landowners located in Chautauqua County. All applications and supporting documents must be submitted online through the Planning & Development website: https://planningchautauqua.com/economic-development/tourism-grants-3-bed-tax/ Hard copies of the application will not be accepted.  For more information, please contact Stephanie Nick, Special Projects Coordinator at: 716-661-8214 or  nicks@chqgov.com.