The Tourism Development Program is made possible by Columbia’s lodging tax. It was created in 1999 to provide financial support to enhance and develop attractions, festivals and events that have potential to attract visitors from outside the local market and generate overnight visitation in Columbia hotels.
All applications are reviewed and voted on by the CVB Advisory Board at their monthly meeting, held the last Monday of every month. All funding recommendations must obtain final approval by the Columbia City Council. The Council meetings are held the first and third Mondays of each month. The City of Columbia’s fiscal year begins October 1. The current funding cycle is for events occurring after October 1, 2016 and before September 30, 2017.
The guidelines & criteria for each fund are set forth in the application form (see below). Please view the specific application information on eligibility requirements.
There are currently four different funds/categories within the Tourism Development Program:
Festivals & Events and Sports Development: These applications are only reviewed each quarter and must be submitted at least 120 days prior to the start of the event. Use the following guidelines to be sure your application is submitted in a timely manner: If your event is held in February, March or April – submit your application prior to the January CVB Board meeting. If the event is held May, June or July – submit your application prior to the April CVB Board meeting and if the event is held during August, September or October – submit your application prior to the July Board meeting.
Attraction Development: Applications may be submitted at any time during the fiscal year but must be received at least 120 days prior to the project start date.
Signature Series Events: These events are Columbia’s oldest & biggest, require prior approval of the CVB Advisory Board and must have been funded through Festivals & Events and Sports Development for a minimum of three years. These applications are due October 1 each year and funding recommendations are made at the October CVB Board meeting, with approval of the City Council at their second meeting in November.
Community Sponsorship: This fund is for community events that do not meet the guidelines & criteria of the Festival & Events fund, but do have a tourism component and promote Columbia. Applications must be submitted to the CVB Director for approval.