City announces destination development fund for ‘exciting visitor experiences in Ottawa’
The city of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism announced Wednesday that they have collaborated to create the destination development fund, which, according to the city, will build on the momentum of 2017 by adding new and innovative tourism experiences in the nation’s capital.
“This investment is made possible by the new municipal accommodation tax, which was approved by city council in December 2017, and came into effect on January 1,” wrote the city in a release.
“An estimated $1 million of the projected tax revenue will go towards the destination development fund annually, which will be used by Ottawa Tourism to support tourism entrepreneurs who are creating new attractions and events, and enhancing festivals to bring new visitors to the nation’s capital.”
According to the city, there will be five funding streams within the program which will include: attractions, facilities, and tourism infrastructure projects, tourism project studies, expansion of regional and/or niche tourism opportunities, festivals and events and the tourism innovation fund.
The city says that the tourism innovation fund, which is a legacy of Ottawa 2017’s Ignite 150 program, will take applications for projects that will offer “exciting visitor experiences in Ottawa.” The city cited examples from 2017 including SugarLumberfest, the Oyster Garden at the War Museum, and Music Ignites, as well as neighbourhood events like Water Dance and Scavenger Hunt.
“After welcoming 11-million visitors to Ottawa during the incredible success of 2017, we have been hard at work to find ways to keep up the momentum,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The destination development fund will ensure that we are able to invest in new initiatives brought forward by innovative local tourism partners; experiences that will generate excitement and keep putting Ottawa on the map.”
According to the city, the destination development fund is an application-based program, which will have rolling intake periods throughout the year.
Applications will be approved during each quarter by the tourism development council, which is composed of local tourism and business leaders.
Priority areas have been identified where the city believes there is potential for greater visitor experiences in Ottawa. Those include: rural tourism, Indigenous tourism, waterfront and shoreline tourism development, projects that enhance Ottawa’s destination image, improvement of the visitor experience including cycling. Also included are bilingualism and/or francophone tourism and expansion of cultural tourism.
“The Destination Development Fund is an absolute game-changer for Ottawa and the local tourism economy,” said Michael Crockatt, CEO and president of Ottawa Tourism. “It tells the world that we recognize the value of destination development as an important factor in keeping Ottawa as an innovator in the visitor experience, which is key to our ability to compete successfully as a destination.”
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