Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau executive director Jean Ruhf (left) and communications coordinator Shelley McAndrew encourage organizations and civic leaders to apply for Room Tax Grant funding for 2015 by Friday, Sept. 25.
The deadline for receiving applications for 2015 Room Tax Grants through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau (EMVB) is fast approaching. Grant applications must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 25.
“It is not a difficult process to submit a grant. Don’t be intimidated by the application,” said Jean Ruhf, EMVB executive director. Ruhf encourages first-time applicants in particular to call 570-836-5431 or 800-769-8999 as soon as possible so a staff member can help them through the process.
Since 2004, numerous organizations, including museums, arts councils, historical societies, trail and way-finding organizations, and the boards of annual fairs, festivals and special one-time events have benefited from more than $1 million in Room Tax Grants.
The state collects a three percent room tax from guests lodging in Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties, and thirty percent of those funds are returned to the counties via each county’s Room Tax Committee.
“Sullivan County dollars stay in Sullivan County, and so on. The majority of grants go towards marketing and advertising. The whole reason why we do room tax grants is to get heads in beds,” said Ruhf.
EMVB oversees the program to ensure that all of the grant applications are in line with Pennsylvania legislation regarding the room tax program. It is up to each county, however, to determine which qualifying non-profit organizations receive funding, as the requests for grants always exceed the amount of money available. EMVB allocated $127,458 to the three counties in 2014.
Bringing people to the Endless Mountains from outside the area is the primary goal of the Room Tax Program. Previous applicants have successfully used the funds for the marketing of cultural, historical, and recreational projects and events to potential visitors from surrounding states and other parts of the Commonwealth.
The application for the 2015 tourism season is available via the Media tab under About Us at www.EndlessMountains.org. Applications may also be obtained by calling or stopping by the Endless Mountains Visitors Center at 5405 State Route 6 west of Tunkhannock or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruhf stressed that applications need only to be postmarked no later than Friday, Sept. 25 – and not necessarily delivered by that date – to qualify.