Hello Grant County,
I hope this finds you all well and looking forward to better days ahead.
The Chamber Board of Directors will meet June 18th at 10:30 am at the Chamber office for their June Business Meeting. There will be no luncheon at this time. This will be the first time the board as a whole has met for a business meeting since February, although committees have been meeting remotely to continue the work of your Chamber. Our focus this week will be on the recent events and how the Chamber will move forward in light of the numerous changes we are all facing.
Since Transient Room Tax has been a recent topic of discussion, I would like to share some information with you.
The 8% County Transient Room Tax is paid quarterly directly to the Chamber by Motels, RV Parks, BnB’s and Vacation Rentals located in Grant County. 5% of the funds are deposited into an account for Transient Room Tax Grants. A committee not affiliated with the Chamber Board oversees the management of the grant program. Grants up to $3,000 may be awarded if applications meet the grant guidelines. The application and guidelines may be found on the Chamber’s website. Over $195,000 has been awarded in grants since 2012. The remaining 75% of the Transient Room Tax goes directly to the Chamber. According to the Ordinance setting forth the process for collecting and using the funds, they are to be used for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities in the county.
The Chamber is the DMO (Destination Management Organization) for Grant County and the official Visitor’s Center.
Although the Chamber collects membership dues annually, the Transient Room Tax is our main source of revenue. It is a critical resource for our efforts to promote tourism and local events, as well as the businesses that benefit from visitors in our area.
Our data shows that since 2012, the amount collected for the TRT has increased approximately 60% as tourist interest in our area has grown.
Data from the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument shows that over the past five years, The Fossil Beds, which includes all three units, has had over 200,000 visitors per year. They are open year around.
The Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, which is open May thru October, received nearly 10,000 visitors last year. They often have more visitors than they can accommodate.
The Chamber each year advertises in tourism publications and guides, showcasing the area’s scenic beauty , hometown events, outdoor recreation, and friendly communities. Last year, the Chamber’s budget also included sponsorships for city-sanctioned events and to support the Grant County Fair. We were a major sponsor for the fair, and we contributed $15,000 to this year’s fair. We donated funds to all of the community 4th of July festivities, as well as several other city-sanctioned vents.
We are currently working on a new logo and brand for Grant cunty, one that can be adapted for use by all of our communities, and will follow up with a new marketing plan. The new logo is almost finished and we plan to have an “unveiling” which I am really looking forward to!
We are also working on next year’s budget. We honestly don’t know how long we will be feeling the effects of COVID-19. But, like all of you, we will do our best to move forward and continue to represent our businesses, our communities and Grant County to the best of our ability.
If you have any questions about the Chamber or if there is anything you would like to talk about, please call of stop by the Chamber office.