With the Semiahmoo Resort back in business, the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC), anticipating that lodging tax revenue from the hotel’s operations will once again be available for the city’s tourism program, has awarded grants to various programs and events in Blaine.
BTAC’s lodging tax revenue forecast has been a cautious one, however, since the resort, which provides close to 90 percent of the city’s total lodging tax revenue, is undergoing renovations and will likely not be at full occupancy for much of the year. “Our funds depend on projections of what we expect the resort to do,” said community tourism director Debbie Harger. “And those are a lot less than usual. We’ve projected that the resort will bring in around $125,000 in hotel/motel tax revenue, which is a conservative estimate. Out of that, we’ve set aside $65,000 for grants and $20,000 to be put in a reserve.”
The remaining $40,000 will be used for operating and marketing expenses for the visitor’s center and a portion of Harger’s salary. Harger noted the committee currently has no reserve funds, and grants will be funded as money comes in.
BTAC received nine applications for grant assistance for the 2014 calendar year, totaling $98,322.
While all applicants received assistance, not all received their full request. Money for the grant is based on criteria outlined by the city that enhance tourism and support tourism-related goals in the Blaine tourism and marketing plan.
The Concerts in the Park program was not funded because the committee felt they did not have a solid plan in place, but $1,500 was put into a miscellaneous events fund to be used at the committee’s discretion.
A list of the requests and awards is below.