Tourism Management Grant

The Colorado Tourism Office’s Tourism Management Grant provides funding for tourism-related projects that develop, enhance, or manage visitor experience in Colorado.

The maximum grant amount is $20,000 and the required match is 4:1. For every $1 the qualifying grantee allocates to the proposed project, the Colorado Tourism Office will provide $4 in matching funds. For example, if your total project budget is $25,000, you can request a $20,000 grant and need to provide the remaining $5,000 as a cash match.

Applications open February 1, 2022 and will close at 4pm on March 3, 2022.

The Colorado Tourism Office will host an informational webinar about the Tourism Management Grant from noon to 1pm on Tuesday, February 1. Register for the webinar.

Overview

Type: Grant

For: jurisdictional lodging tax recipients, destination tourism leadership organizations, non-profit tourism industry associations

Amount: Up to $20,000

Application period: Winter

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Eligible projects

Eligible projects advance the development, enhancement or management of visitor experience in Colorado. Funding will only be awarded to projects that can be completed within a twelve (12) month period between May 1, 2022 and May 1, 2023.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Colorado destination organizations
    • recipients of jurisdictional lodging taxes, such as: 
      • destination marketing organizations 
      • lodging tax boards, committees, or panels 
  • other tourism leadership organizations that are responsible for developing, promoting, and managing tourism on behalf of a destination, such as: 
    • chambers of commerce or chamber resort associations 
    • local county or city governments 
  • Colorado tourism industry associations
    • registered nonprofit trade organizations that represent a collection of tourism businesses within one or more tourism-related business sectors
      • nonprofit trade organizations that do not represent tourism-related business sectors or that provide services only to individuals, though critically important, are not the intended recipients of these programs

Only one application per Colorado destination organization or Colorado tourism industry association will be accepted for the Tourism Management Grant.

Eligible use of funds for Tourism Management Grants

Eligible projects must support one or more of the eligible use of funds detailed below:

  1. Tourism product development (e.g., inclusive travel offerings, bicycle tourism guides, food and farm trails, travel philanthropy programs)
  2. Tourism workforce development (e.g., frontline staff training programs, skills-based training programs)
  3. Tourism-related strategic planning (e.g., stakeholder and resident engagement, destination management plans)
  4. Tourism research (e.g., feasibility studies, economic impact reports, visitor profile studies)
  5. Infrastructure that directly enhances the visitor experience through increased access or engagement (e.g., wayfinding, educational or interpretive signage, educational kiosks, river access, trail maintenance)
    • a letter of support from the property owner or proof that applicant owns the property is required for approval 

Additional consideration will be applied to projects that advance one or more of the secondary criteria below:

  • advance low-impact travel experiences
  • foster inclusive travel opportunities 
  • encourage responsible visitation
  • address seasonality
  • champion the value of tourism
  • target conscientious travelers

Ineligible use of funds

  • funding can not be used as a match for larger projects
  • employee salaries, personnel costs, or grant management costs
  • food or alcoholic beverages
  • building construction or maintenance
  • participation at an industry or consumer-related trade show or conference
  • marketing executions specific to a campaign such as media placement, social media initiatives, search engine marketing initiatives (see Tourism Marketing Matching Grant)

Applications for the Tourism Management Grant will be available from February 1, 2022 to 4pm (MST) on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Please sign up for the Colorado Tourism Office email updates to stay updated on when this application will open.

Apply through the OEDIT application portal by 4pm on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

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

The application process is as follows:

  1. Verify your eligibility by reading through the guidelines carefully.
  2. Log in to the OEDIT application portal and create an account.
  3. Submit your application in the OEDIT application portal. For reference, all application questions can be found in the Tourism Management Grant Application Questions (DOCX). 
  4. Applications will be reviewed by a Colorado Tourism Office evaluation committee.
  5. Status notification approximately three (3) weeks after the application closes.
     

Supporting documentation

You will need to provide:

  • current Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State
  • completed tourism management grant budget (XLS)
  • tourism management grant timeline
  • letter(s) of commitment showing evidence of required cash match – matching dollars may not come from the State’s General Fund or other Colorado Tourism Office funds
  • project support letters – all grant applications need to include at least three letters of support from local Colorado organizations or individuals that will benefit from the results of the project
    • project letters of support are required from property owners (if different than applicant) that own the location of any proposed infrastructure projects 
    • project letters of support are required from the relevant Colorado land management agencies when proposed projects interface with Colorado public lands

Tourism Management Grant applicants receive decisions in late March.

A Colorado Tourism Office evaluation committee will review applications and recommend awards, using a competitive process based on alignment with the eligible use of funds, an ability to advance one or more of the secondary criteria, demonstrated need, organizational capacity, and availability of matching funds.

Reviewers will prioritize applications that include:

  • a proposed project that meets all eligibility requirements, is needed, states clear objectives, and includes attainable deliverables that advance the development, enhancement, or management of visitor experience in Colorado
  • an applicant with a track record of effective work, evident through strong letters of support
  • a well-planned project timeline and budget
  • demonstration that project will advance one or more of the secondary criteria
  • clear writing and a strong case for support

The committee will score applications on these criteria:

  • strength of proposed project (25%)
  • ability to advance the secondary criteria (25%)
  • demonstrated need for the project (20%)
  • capacity to implement (20%)
  • quality of budget and timeline (10%)

Awarded applicants should follow the instructions in their grant award email and submit any requested documents within three weeks. OEDIT awards funding through electronic funds transfer when a purchase order is finalized between OEDIT and awarded applicants that formalizes the approved application and after the project start date listed in the purchase order.
 
The Colorado Tourism Office’s goal is to provide grant funds upfront. Funds 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 purchase order 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 an updated project budget
  • submit a final report and final budget, including documents for expenses incurred, 45 days after the grant period ends

Project requirements:

  • CTO grant funds cannot be used to match an existing or future grant opportunity outside of the CTO 
  • project must be completed utilizing CTO grant funds
  • the applicant can financially match the project cost at a higher amount if the cost exceeds grant dollar limitations
  • creative assets must be approved by the CTO prior to production, publication, placement, and/or distribution

Acknowledgement

Marketing materials that are funded in part by Colorado Tourism Office funds need to include the official Colorado Tourism Office logo. 

Main logo

Stacked/vertical logo

Changes to proposal

The Colorado Tourism Office needs to approve any significant refinements, clarifications, modifications, or changes to awarded proposals or your organization may forfeit grant funds. Awarded applicants should complete and submit the Proposal Change Form. Proposal change forms submitted 60 days or less from the end of the project timeline will not be accepted.

Project timeline and report

You need to complete your project within the grant cycle period. You must submit your final report within 45 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 start date are not allowable expenses.

Unused funds

You need to return any unused grant funds to the Colorado Tourism Office. Any grant funds not used as approved shall be returned to the Colorado Tourism Office pursuant to the grant contract. Projects must be completed within the approved grant timeline.

The following table outlines the timeline for the grants awarded in 2022.
 

February 1, 2022

Application opens

March 3, 2022

Application closes at 4:00 pm MST

March 22, 2022

Recipient notification

May 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023

Grant project execution period

June 15, 2023

Final report and expense receipts due

 

Program Manager

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