There are hundreds of festivals and events taking place each year across Alberta, entertaining visitors and contributing cash to local tourism. Growing your tourism event (an event that attracts out-of-town visitors) takes time and expertise –and the government is here to help.
There’s a grant for that!
Up until Nov. 3, the Festivals and Events Tourism Growth Program is taking applications to help your event reach its tourism potential and help bring even more visitors to Alberta.
The grant is more than just money—successful recipients also gain access to a consultant who will help evaluate your festival or event to identify tourism growth opportunities. The end result is clear steps towards cultivating the visitor experience and encouraging increased attendance.
Tourism Development Officer Alyssa Watson helpfully shared these five tips on how to make sure your grant application will be considered.
Make sure you’re eligible.
“Whatever grant you’re applying for, make sure you check the eligibility requirements,” says Alyssa. For the Festival and Events Tourism Growth Program, eligible organizations include not-for profit organizations, municipalities, and First Nations or Métis governments. The program is most appropriate for festivals and events that attract a diverse range of visitors with annual attendance of 1,500 and more, with 25 per cent of visitors coming from out of town.
Do the paperwork.
Missing one document could mean the difference between $40,000 and nothing at all. Double check that you have all the right documentation and make sure it’s filled out properly. If you need help, check out the details on page 4 of program guidelines.
When you’re trying to grow your event, ask yourself, do you have the resources to handle the growth you are looking for? According to Alyssa, “Successful applicants know their goals and have a clear vision for achieving them. We also look to make sure there’s enough people power not only to undertake the program, but implement the growth plan. You need to be able to commit to frequent meetings, make time to review, and provide feedback at all stages of the project.”
Be on time.
Don’t be late! Not only will late applications not be accepted, but being late is also a big indication that you may not be ready for the program (see tip #3).
Call before you dig.
This is a simple one that can solve many problems before they crop up. Contact a tourism development officer at Culture and Tourism or call 780-427-0590 to see if you would benefit from the program or from other resources. It takes time to put together a complete application and time is precious—we don’t want you to waste it!
Since the Festival and Events Tourism Growth program’s launch in April 2012, 22 organizations have been awarded grants. We’ve had the opportunity to work with organizations that deliver festival experiences in tourism relating to: sports, agriculture, culinary, trails, cultures, and Aboriginal heritage as well as summer and winter festivals and events.
Graduates or participating organizations of the program:
- Edmonton International Fringe Festival
- Thunder in the Valley Festival (Drayton Valley)
- Harvest Festival (Wetaskiwin)
- Falher Honey Festival
- Lac La Biche Pow Wow Days
- Wild Mountain Music Festival (Hinton)
- Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival Society (Stony Plain)
- Ice on Whyte Festival (Edmonton)
- Lacombe Days
- Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo
- Brooks Medieval Faire
And if you don’t get the grant?
Don’t worry, there are other opportunities. Contact us to set up an Event Tourism workshop in your community. Or just ask for guidance on how to get your festival or event to the next level. We’d be happy to help!