Tourism Development Grant

The Tourism Development Grant Program provides funding for the technical development of tourism in rural Colorado and projects that develop the statewide tourism industry. 

The grant prioritizes projects that:

  • are new efforts and initiatives
  • support further collaboration and product development in a Colorado travel region
  • provide an integrated destination experience
  • inspire destination stories founded upon a common theme
  • support creative consistency across communications and experiences

Your request needs to have a minimum funding ratio of 1-to-4 non-grant funding to grant funding. For example, if you request a grant of $10,000, you need to have at least $2,500 in other funding.

 Due to COVID-19, we postponed applications for this grant. Check back for updates or sign up for Colorado Tourism Office email updates.

Overview

Type: Grant

For: Rural tourism nonprofits and city/county government

Amount: Up to $15,000

Application period: Summer

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Eligible organizations

Applicants need to be either:

  • a nonprofit organization located and doing business in the State of Colorado operating tourism-related activities of benefit to the entire state or region
  • Colorado city or county government engaged in tourism promotion or development

Each applicant is limited to one Tourism Development Grant project per fiscal year. Your tourism operating budget from the previous fiscal year cannot exceed $500,000.

Ineligible applicants include:

  • entities that failed to fulfill Colorado Tourism Office grant award requirements within the past fiscal year such as project completion, submitting required grant reporting, proper use of grant funds, lack of acknowledgment, and changes to proposal without approval
  • for-profit entities
  • individual attractions and businesses

Eligible projects

Eligible projects will develop, improve, or expand tourism in Colorado. Funding will only be awarded to projects that can be completed within the fiscal year ending June 30. 

You may use this grant for tourism development including:

  • product development in a Colorado travel region 
  • marketing plans
  • creative strategy or design
  • social media strategy
  • branding development
  • brand awareness study
  • feasibility or research studies
  • strategic planning for tourism initiatives
  • community-based training Implementing technology to capture visitor feedback

These expenses are not eligible for this grant:

  • employee salaries, personnel costs, grant management costs
  • building construction or maintenance
  • ongoing market research initiatives
  • office supplies
  • cost of consultants already engaged (including mileage and associated fees already budgeted)
  • participation at an industry or consumer-related trade show
  • food or alcoholic beverages
  • website development and/or mobile optimization (you may apply for the Tourism Marketing Matching Grant)
  • gateway, wayfinding or visitor information signage

 Applications are not currently being accepted. Please sign up for the Colorado Tourism Office email updates to stay updated on when this application will open.

The application typically opens once a year in summer.

Apply on the OEDIT application portal. Log in to your account or create a new account. To protect your personal information, we manually add new users to the portal, so it may take several days to activate your account. Instructions for navigating the grant portal are available.

Application materials

Application questions

The questions below are only a reference and do not include all of the information you need to include in the application. There is a 5,000 character limit for each narrative question response. 

  • Describe the project for which funding is requested (details should include goals and objectives of your project).
  • Describe how the project will enhance or expand your tourism development to increase tourism.
  • How does this project align with the brand story and positioning statement for the applicant’s Colorado travel region?
  • Explain how this project has the potential to stimulate tourism economic development and create a positive economic impact in your community.
  • How will you measure success for the project?
  • List the counties you expect to affect with the proposed project.
  • Provide a statement of financial and developmental need.
  • Detail the applicant organization’s capacity to implement the grant, including identifying the project lead/s and their qualifications. 

Supporting documents

You will need to provide:

  • certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State
  • completed budget (Use this Budget and Financial Template (XLS) to document your project budget)
  • timeline of project (Use this Timeline Template (XLS) to document your project timeline)
  • letter(s) of commitment showing evidence of required 1-to-4 (25%) cash match
  • project support letters
  • financial statement showing your organization's tourism operating budget for your most recently completed fiscal year, signed by your board president or treasurer

This is a competitive award program, and not all applicants receive funding. The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) will appoint a committee to review applications. CTO will award grants based on application scores and availability of grant funding. 

The committee prioritizes projects that further collaboration and product development in a Colorado travel region.

Competitive applications typically include:

  • projects that further promote or develop experiences in the applicant’s travel region and/or contribute to a statewide marketing initiative
  • an applying entity with a track record of effective work, evident through strong support letters
  • a well-planned project timeline and budget
  • clear writing and a strong case for support

The committee will score applications on these criteria.

Merit (65%)
Show:

  • potential for the project to stimulate and generate tourism economic development or to create a positive economic impact on the community/region
  • viability and long term sustainability of the project

Implementation capacity (15%)
Show effective planning, management, and budgeting of the organization and the project.

Financial need (20%)
Demonstrate financial and development need.

Follow instructions in the grant award email and submit any requested documents within three weeks. We award funds through Electronic Funds Transfer after we finalized a purchase order.

After we executive the contract, we will send you 75% of awarded funds (up to $11,250). After you submit your final report and budget, and we review and approve them, we will send you the remaining 25% of grant funds. Our goal is to provide 75% of the grant funds upfront. Grants are subject to approval by the State Controller’s Office yearly, so we may award funds on a reimbursement basis.

You need to:

  • not begin project activities until the contract has been executed and signed
  • complete your project within the approved grant timeline and contract end date
  • keep the project budget updated throughout the lifetime of the grant
  • submit an interim report and updated project budget
  • submit a final report and final budget, including documents for expenses incurred, 30 days after the grant period ends

Acknowledgement

All advertising and promotional materials that are funded in part by Colorado Tourism Office funds need to include the official Colorado Tourism Office logo. When appropriate, advertising and promotional materials developed through Colorado Tourism Office funds should include a reference to the applicant’s travel region. Websites need to reference the applicable travel region.

Main Logo

Stacked/Vertical Logo

Changes to proposal

The Colorado Tourism Office needs to approve any significant refinements, clarifications, modifications or changes to the proposal or you organization may forfeit grant funds. Organizations should complete and submit the Proposal Change Form. We will not accept proposal change forms 60 days or less from the end of the project.

Project timeline and report

You need to complete your project within the grant cycle period. You need to submit your final report within 30 days of completing your project. In the final report, submit a budget, invoices, expense receipts, and proof of payment and describe what you accomplished with the grant.

Expenses incurred before purchase order execution are not allowable expenses.

Unused funds

You need to return any unused grant funds to the Colorado Tourism Office.

Program Manager

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