Franklin County LDC funds tourism growth in 3 ways

MALONE — The Franklin County Local Development Corporation is offering funding to help tourism-related businesses, organizations and events.

This week the FCLDC announced three programs open to businesses, nonprofit organizations and, in the case of the Destination Development and Marketing Program, local governments.

¯ Destination Development and Marketing Program — This competitive program provides matching grants of up to $5,000 to businesses and organizations that seek to create or grow tourism attractions. The deadline for the next round of funding is Monday, Nov. 16. “This is the second time we have offered this program, and we are excited by the enthusiasm and creativity we are seeing from potential applicants,” Phil Hans, FCLDC regional destination manager, said in a press release.

¯ Destination Cooperative Marketing Program — “During this difficult year, this program offers a practical and systematic way to get marketing dollars in the hands of our Franklin County tourism-based businesses,” FCLDC Regional Destination Manager Kelly Brunette said in a statement.

¯ Destination Event Sponsorship Program — This is designed to offer direct financial sponsorship. Awards will be between $250 and $1,000, based on event attendance, impact and need. This program has a rolling deadline.

Information about all three programs, including guidelines, application forms, and submission instructions is available at www.franklinida.org.

When Jeremy Evans, CEO of the FCDLC, submitted a proposal on behalf of the organization to become Franklin County’s tourism promotion agency a year ago, he knew that the transition would be difficult. But less than two months into the contract, the FCLDC and Franklin County were faced with the uncertainties and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It obviously slowed us down, and it’s been tough for everyone,” Evans said in a statement. “But I am more convinced than ever that seeking the tourism contract was the right thing for us to do. We appreciate the opportunity Franklin County has given us and we are excited to keep moving forward.”

Now, with occupancy tax revenues stabilized and an updated marketing plan in place, FCLDC has released these three programs.

“We are uniquely qualified,” Evans added, “to accomplish the tourism priorities the county has identified in a new environment where tourism promotion needs to be better integrated with other community issues, whether it’s housing, downtown revitalization, or workforce development, and the need for residents to support local businesses. That is what we do. That is our expertise. So for us, it is a natural fit.”

Tourism Advisory Committee Chair Brian McDonnell noted that it has been a priority for TAC to better leverage occupancy tax revenues and the marketing efforts of tourism-related businesses to promote Franklin County.

“TAC has seen the need to better align overall promotional efforts with the considerable efforts many of our tourism-related businesses are making. When they do better, overall tourism does better. We have been working hard to get to this point and with our new direction set, programs established, and funding allocated, we are optimistic about the future for tourism in Franklin County.”


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