Tourism Development Fund (TDF)

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Williamsburg City Council has established a Tourism Development Fund (TDF).  The program is modeled after other tourist destinations across the United States including Asheville and Virginia Beach. The program is designed to operate as a grant fund with a committee who will review applications for funding and make recommendations for Council approval.  Projects are intended to be tourism-based. This means that a new convention center, a new festival, the Capital Trail extension, park greenways, an expanded theater program, or even downtown lighting enhancements could be considered for a grant award. The fund is not intended for projects such as a new tire store, a water line replacement, or a new office building. The policy states the purpose of the fund as:

“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 program will provide a mechanism for both public and private investment in tourism infrastructure throughout the City of Williamsburg. This investment can be in new projects or in expansion of existing assets.  This investment must be designed to increase visitation at area hotels, attractions and restaurants. 

City Council approved the following:

Meals Tax = 1.5% increase for a total 6.5% on meals

Lodging Tax = 2% increase for a total 7% on transient rooms

(New) Admissions Tax = 3.5% increase on admissions (concerts, tours, movies, shows, museums)

These new revenues are dedicated to eligible tourism development fund expenses and may not be transferred to other city funds. Any unspent funds in the “lock box” roll over and may be used for eligible expenses the next year.

Applications for eligible projects may be submitted to the city starting in the fall of 2018 for funding consideration in 2019. Projects will have to demonstrate they meet program requirements.


Ordinances have an effective date of July 1, 2018. The City's Finance Department will work with local businesses and event organizers in developing the admissions tax collection process in the spring of 2018. Meal and room taxes will continue to use the existing collection process. The collection of TDF program revenues will begin in July 2018. As such, the City will begin accepting applications for eligible projects in the fall of 2018. City Council will select projects in May when they approve the new fiscal year budget and approved projects will begin receiving program funds after July 2019 (in FY 2020).

A guidance document for the application process and program requirements will be provided in spring 2018 to assist in the preparation of materials for eligible Tourism Development Fund projects.



  • Why do we need a Tourism Development Fund (TDF)?
  • Is there a list of potential projects that could be funded by the TDF?
  • What types of projects could be approved?
  • How much would taxes increase if the TDF is approved?
  • What businesses will be subject to the admissions tax?
  • What would this mean for my bill when I eat at a restaurant, stay in a local hotel, or buy a ticket to a movie?
  • Why can’t the City fund the TDF using existing revenues?
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

Ashville, NC