The Charlotte County Tourist Development Council is pleased to announce the launch of the Attraction Development Program to provide funding to new capital investments that will generate substantial new and incremental hotel room nights in Charlotte County. The new Attraction Development Fund is made possible by the Tourist Development Tax (TDT).
Projects to be considered must pass a two-phase approval process by the Tourism Development Council prior to consideration by the Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners. Phase I is a short application form designed to assess the viability of the application and its conformity to the goals of the fund. Successful Phase I applicants will be invited to participate in Phase II.
Phase II consists of a comprehensive application requesting information such as financials and business plans. Applicants will have the opportunity to present projects in person to the TDC Board as part of the review process. Phase II may also include site visits, as per TDC request.
Key Attraction Development Funding Requirements in which applications will be assessed are:
- Funding must be for capital investments only (“bricks and mortar” projects--design not included). Operational expenses will not be considered for funding.
- A project must demonstrate that it will create substantial new and incremental hotel room nights in Charlotte County.
- The TDC Board will only recommend funding for projects that have a minimum of a 1-to-1 funding match to the Attraction Development Program funding requested. No more than 25% of the match may be in-kind goods and services. Cash and in-kind donations pledged as a match to the request to the TDC’s Attraction Development Program may not be pledged as a match for any other funding. Design fees already expended will be considered as counting towards the 1-to-1 funding match.
- Projects that either directly increase hotel room nights by themselves or support a larger initiative that will increase room nights, will be evaluated equally.
- Projects may not solely benefit a single hotel owner, hotel property, or be situated on a hotel property.
- Attraction Development funds cannot be the first funds committed to a project.
The TDC has set criteria by which projects will be evaluated which includes financial stability of the requesting organization, ratio of room nights generated to the funding requested, strength of the business plan and sales and marketing plan, generator of new and incremental room nights, association with an identified need period, attraction audience, scope of impact on Charlotte County’s lodging market, timeliness of the project, funding match, uniqueness and innovation of the project, strength of brand alignment, and previously funded projects.
For additional information including application materials, visit charlotteharbortravel.com/tdc/adf/.
All accommodations rented for six months or less in Charlotte County are subject to the tax. The tax is 5 percent. Of the 5 pennies, 3 are used to market and promote Charlotte County as a tourist destination. The other 2 pennies go toward the debt service on the stadium renovations at the Charlotte Sports Park. As the tax is generated by overnight guests in area accommodations, one of the primary purposes of any expenditure must be to create tourism which results in overnight stays. This provides for a continual replenishment of the fund.
The Charlotte County Tourist Development Council is an advisory council that makes recommendations to the Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners for the effective operation of the special projects or for uses of the tourist development tax revenue raised by the tax levied. The TDC oversees the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau which is Charlotte County's destination marketing organization. The Charlotte Harbor VCB conducts marketing, sales and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of and visitation to Charlotte County while generating economic contributions.
About Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands
Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, the area offers a pristine unspoiled beauty. In 2014 Port Charlotte was been named the top U.S. Best Value Destination by trivago, the world’s largest online hotel search site, and the Charlotte Sports Park, spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, was voted “Best Spring Training Facility” by readers of USA TODAY. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named one of SAIL magazine’s “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States,” ranked by Golf Digest as “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” Englewood was named second of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.com. The area is served by five airports: The Punta Gorda Airport (PDG) with commercial, private and charter air service, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Southwest Florida International Airport, Ft. Myers, (RSW), St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA).
For more information on visiting Charlotte Harbor visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com or call 1-800-652-6090.