How did City Council decide on a Tourism Development Fund?

Discussion began in the fall of 2016 as the City started developing the 2017 to 2018 Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes (GIOs) as City Council recognized the need for a renewed investment in tourism infrastructure, place, and attractions. This is reflected in the adopted 2017 to 2018 Biennial GIOs.

City Budget Retreat

The conversation matured in January 2017 during the City Council budget retreat. City staff was asked to look for ways to finance the kind of projects the community lacks. This question was partially driven by the pending completion of the Williamsburg Downtown Vibrancy, Design and Marketing Plan, and the resulting question of how to implement the changes and improvements suggested.

Work Sessions

During the April 2017 City Council Work Session, the concept of a Tourism Development Fund (TDF) was discussed. It was again reviewed in detail during the June 2017 City Council Work Session and Business Meeting. Council reviewed comparable programs from other tourism-based localities and considered operating models for a local TDF at a July 8 work session.

At the July 10 work session, the Council considered the existing budget and potential new revenue sources for funding the TDF. At the July 13 business meeting, the Council delayed action on the TDF and asked staff to organize a community forum to answer questions regarding the proposed TDF. That Forum was held on July 27 and was well attended generating lots of good comments and discussion. The Council then adopted components of the TDF in August and finalized the process in September.

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1. What types of projects could be funded by the TDF?
2. How is the TDF funded?
3. Is anyone able to apply for funding?
4. How would the TDF money be distributed?
5. Why does the City have to fund the projects?
6. How did City Council decide on a Tourism Development Fund?
7. Will unspent TDF money rollover into the next year?
8. How does the TDF differ from the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)?
9. Where has a TDF been successful in a similar market to ours?
10. How will we determine the success of the TDF?