Langley awards tourism funds

One dozen applicants and $115,000 in funding

One dozen tourism projects got the nod of approval from the Langley City Council to receive $115,477 from the lodging tax tourism fund.

The money is directed at nonprofit organizations to help promote and sponsor numerous tourism events throughout the year.

The Langley Chamber of Commerce relies heavily on the lodging tax. It received $35,447 for six projects, including funding for seasonal festivals, tourist marketing and a Tall Ships event in May.

For January’s popular Sea Float Scramble, $10,000 was awarded to the Langley Main Street Association.

The City of Langley received $29,000 for its wayfinding project that will improve how tourists find sightseeing spots and parking areas.

The Orca Network and Whale Center received $10,000 while $20,000 was awarded to Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Both applied for funds to use for region wide marketing and tourism outreach.

The Whidbey Fair Association received $6,000 and the Island Shakespeare Festival was awarded $10,000.

The money for the tourism fund is raised by a tax on lodging. It’s earmarked under state law for “promotion of tourism or construction and operation of tourism-related facilities,” according to the state Department of Revenue.

The projected revenue for 2019 tourism fund is $239,060 but some of the money is also tapped for other tourism-related expenses.

An ad hoc tourism committee, comprised of government, lodging and restaurant representatives, developed a new scoring system to rate applicants. A total of 150 points could be awarded based on economic impact, cost effectiveness, likelihood of participation and other criteria.

For example, 15 points could be rewarded if the project dovetails with an existing event, encouraging visitors to stay overnight; 10 points given for increasing visitation during the October to May shoulder season.

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