Tourism Development Fund (TDF)

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The City of Williamsburg is kicking off a new development program which will increase visitation to the Greater Williamsburg region. This program is called the Tourism Development Fund or TDF. The TDF was adopted in 2017 with one intent:

The purpose of the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) is to increase patronage to restaurants, attractions, hotels, and events in the City of Williamsburg through financial assistance and reinvestment in tourism products, place-making projects, special events, public-private partnerships, and destination marketing.

The City is looking for partners to help increase tourism. The reason is simple. People agree that the City has to bolster tourism in order to continue offering the world class services and quality of life to which residents and visitors have grown accustomed. To do this, the City has to provide a business-friendly environment, be progressive in thinking about new concepts, and reduce the costs of investment. 

The TDF is all three of these rolled into one program. Just by establishing and promoting the availability of a TDF and the partnership it represents, the City is advertising a business-friendly environment. The TDF is not a new concept and is used in many tourism destinations, but it is new to Williamsburg and that sends the message that the City is aggressive in addressing the need for tourism. Lastly, the TDF is a grant program intended to help reduce the costs of investment.

The TDF is funded through three tax sources; a percentage of meals tax, a percentage of lodging tax and an admissions tax.  The estimated funding available each year is approximately 3.4 million. These funds are made available for grants following a rigorous review process including an advisory panel, the City Manager and the City Council.  Projects can be new development, expansion of existing projects, public facilities, improved experiences, and/or increased marketing. Any project that can be shown to increase patronage to restaurants, attractions, hotels and events can qualify and be considered.  

The first round of grant consideration will begin in October of 2019. To learn more use the menu bar on the left, email the Assistant City Manager or call (757)-220-6100.

TDF website blue-button_text

 

FAQs

  • Why do we need a Tourism Development Fund (TDF)?
  • Is there a list of potential projects that could be funded by the TDF?
  • How much would taxes increase if the TDF is approved?
  • Will there still be an admissions tax?
  • Why can’t the City fund the TDF using existing revenues?
  • How did City Council decide on a Tourism Development Fund?
  • How does the TDF differ from the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)?
More FAQs

Here are some examples of projects in other localities using similar funding:

TDF Gatlinburg TN Parking Garage
TDF Asheville NC Soccer Complex
TDF Charleston SC Galliard Center
TDF Loudon County VA Waterford Fair
TDF Asheville NC Riverfront Destination
TDF Gatlinburg TN Winterfest
TDF Virginia Beach Marathon
TDF Gatlinburg TN Community Center
TDF Myrtle Beach SC Music Fest
TDF Asheville SC Arena

Public Engagement:

Citizens are encouraged to share their questions, comments and concerns with City Council. You do not have to be present to comment on City Council meeting agenda items. Simply go to the City's emeetings page, find the meeting you are interested in, and beside the link for the meeting agenda, click on "eComment" and leave your comment there. 

Previous TDF discussion meetings:

July 8, 2017 (Saturday)  8:00 am – City Council Work Session (specifically to discuss the TDF) - Stryker Center

July 10, 2017 4:00 pm – City Council Work Session - Stryker Center

July 13, 2017 2:00 pm – City Council Meeting - Stryker Center

July 27, 2017 (Thursday) 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Community Forum in the Community Building at 401 N. Boundary Street

August 7, 2017 4:00 pm - City Council Work Session (not an agenda item, but discussed during "Open Forum") - Stryker Center

August 10, 2017 2:00 pm - City Council Meeting - Stryker Center

Helpful links and documents:

TDF Documents:

Memo - Establish Tourism Development Fund

Resolution #17-12 - Establish TDF and TDF policy

Ordinance #17-09 - Meals and Lodging Taxes

Ordinance #17-10 - Admissions Tax

Memo - Comparison Questions and Answers

 

Staff Presentations:

At City Council Work Session - April 10, 2017

At City Council Work Session - June 5, 2017

At City Council Meeting - June 10, 2017

At City Council Work Session - July 8, 2017

At City Council Work Session - July 10, 2017

At City Council Community Forum - July 27, 2017

 

What other localities are doing:

Ashville, NC  http://www.ashevillecvb.com/product-development/

Ashville, NC  http://bctda.ashevillecvb.com/product-development/