Thousands available for promoting tourism

Got a plan for improving tourism in Pierce County? It could be valuable. Pierce County is offering grants totaling $400,000...

Got a plan for improving tourism in Pierce County? It could be valuable.
Pierce County is offering grants totaling $400,000 to individuals, agencies and organizations to promote tourism next year.

The promotion activity must benefit tourism in the unincorporated area or within Bonney Lake, Carbonado, Dupont, Edgewood, Fircrest, Milton, Orting, Roy, Ruston, South Prairie, Steilacoom, Sumner, University Place and Wilkeson.

Applications for the year are now available and must be submitted no later than March 25. Proposals will be reviewed by the Pierce County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, which will make its selections in June. The committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the county executive for inclusion in his proposed 2005 budget. The County Council will take final budget action in November.

Here are eligible activities:

* Increase tourism by advertising, publicizing and distributing information for the purpose of attracting and welcoming tourists;

* Develop strategies to expand tourism;

* Operate tourism promotional agencies;

* Fund and market events and festivals;

* Construct or renovate tourism-related facilities.
Applications for tourism-promotion grants can be obtained from the Pierce County Department of Community Services, 3602 Pacific Ave., Suite 200, Tacoma. The applications also are available online at http://www.piercecountywa.org/cdev.

The grants are funded by a user tax collected from guests by hotels and motels. A majority of the affected lodging facilities are in the Elbe/Ashford or Crystal Mountain areas near Mount Rainier National Park.

The 12-member Lodging Tax Advisory Committee is chaired by County Councilmember Roger Bush. The eligible cities and towns have one representative who serves as vice chair; four members represent the lodging industry; four members represent users of the tax process; and the remaining two members are citizens at large.

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