Tourism grants handy for promoting events

The Moffat County Tourism Association has $16,000 and it is ready to put those dollars to work boosting the number of visitors to Northwest Colorado.

Applications are available for grants from that pot of money. Funds can be used to advertise an event that will bring people -- and dollars -- to the area.

"Our main goal is to get people here," MCTA Marketing Director Steve Miller said. "Grants can be used for anything that can attract visitors from outside of Craig."

MCTA's $80,000 budget is generated by a 1.9 percent lodging tax on hotel rooms. The organization's biggest expense is its contribution to fund the Moffat County Visitor's Center, followed by printing costs for brochures available at the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Then, money is set aside for advertising. Eleven grants were funded last year for a total of $14,000. Events boosted by MCTA advertising dollars included Ride-N-Tie Rodeo, Grand Olde West Days, Little Britches Rodeo, the North American Dog Agility Trials and Whittle the Wood.

"It's pretty handy to have them helps us," said Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation Department director. "It's good for Craig and good for merchants when we bring people from outside of Craig."

Pike uses MCTA dollars to advertise the Whittle the Wood event in Grand Junction, Meeker and Steamboat Springs. He is considering advertising on the Front Range next year.

Surveys indicate that 25 percent of those voting for the People's Choice Award are from out of town, and 25 percent of those are from out of state.

"They're getting a good return on the money they invest with us," Pike said.

Applications for 2005 funding are available at the Craig Chamber of Commerce. The one-page form is simple and can be filled out in minutes, Miller said.

The application deadline is Feb. 1. Any event taking place in Moffat County is eligible for an MCTA grant.

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