DeSoto County Florida | Economic Development Office | 201 E. Oak Street | Suite 201 | Arcadia, FL 34266 | Phone: 863-993-4800 | Fax: 863-993-4808




Applications must be received at our offices post marked no later than May 31, 2017 at 5:00PM

Discover DeSoto- Tourism Office

201 E Oak Street, Suite 201

Arcadia, FL 34266

863-993-4800 For Questions  

See the Resolution governing this program

See the Public Notice annoucing this year's grant cycle

This document sets forth the guidelines and eligibility criteria for grant awards from Tourist Development Tax funds. Applications will be accepted annually from eligible organizations that will sponsor and promote tourism activities within DeSoto County, bring substantial numbers of tourists/visitors to the County and promote overnight bed stays within the County. The overall purpose of the program is to promote DeSoto County as a Tourist destination by assisting new tourism events launch effective marketing campaigns.

1. The Organization must be an organization qualified to do business in Florida.
2. All events, performances, or programs must be open to the public.
3. Events cannot be unreasonable restrictive through admittance fees, public access or crowd capacity, which limits participation by visitors.
4. Events, performances or programs must take place in DeSoto County. If these events, performances, or programs are to be used for fund raising purposes, profits must go exclusively to programs that benefit DeSoto County residents and/or charities.
5. Tourism Development Marketing Grant funds requires a 50% match.

The following are examples of how tourist development funds may be uses to promote tourism in the County:
1. Promotional or advertising expenses in conjunction with an event to increase the awareness of DeSoto County outside this area.
2. Out-of-county advertising and publicity of an event to increase participation, attendance and awareness including, but not limited to, internet, print, television, audio advertising, and use of billboard advertising.

Awards shall not exceed a maximum of $3000.00 per award. The applicant will be required to share in cost at a ratio of 50% of the award. Applicants shall indicate the amount of funding requested in their application based on ability and commitment to provide a 50% match, up to the maximum award. Applicants may request, or be offered an award of less than the maximum award.

Applications will be solicited for on an annual basis through advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation at an appropriate time as determined by tourism development staff. The advertisement shall include, at a minimum, the following:
1. Amount of funding made available
2. Purpose of availability of funds
3. Location where applications may be obtained
4. Date, time, and address to which applications must be submitted
5. Office Contact phone number

All applications received by the deadline outlined in the public advertising shall be date/time stamped upon receipt and shall be provided to the Tourist Development Office. The Tourist Development Office will establish a Selection Committee from members of the Tourist Development Council and/or County Staff. The Selection Committee members shall be provided the applications and scoring sheets for independent review. The selection committee may request oral presentations from applicants in the application scoring process. The Selection Committee shall meet and make formal funding recommendations to be submitted to the Board of County commissioners for consideration. Upon award, recipients will be notified by staff and presented with an award document for acceptance and signature and be available for media promotions or press releases as appropriate. Applications will be scored based on the following criteria:

Evaluation Factors Possible Points Score
Commitment to the expansion of tourism in DeSoto County   25 
Soundness of Proposed Project       25 
Quality and Uniqueness of proposed Project   20 
Positive Economic Impact to DeSoto County   15 
Stability of Management and capacity   15 
Total 100 

All promotional and advertising materials must be reviewed by BOCC staff prior to publishing and advertisement.
1. Grantee Website and Social Media Sites - Your organization’s event website and organizational website must provide a link to the DeSoto County TDC website at: <>.
2. Print - All grantees must show on printed materials: the Discover DeSoto logo plus and the Tourism Website: <>.
3. Audio - All audio advertising must include verbal “For more information on DeSoto County, FL visit <>”
4. Video - All video advertising must display video credit with the Discover DeSoto logo plus, “For more information on DeSoto County, FL visit <>”

*Promotional advertising materials that do not meet the criteria set forth above shall not be eligible for reimbursement.

Any member of the Tourist Development council, designated staff of the Board of County Commissioners or assigned volunteers may attend and/or monitory any and all events to ensure compliance with grant and reporting requirements. All grant recipients are required to maintain complete and accurate accounting and project records for the event. All funds granted shall be subject to audit by the Board of County Commissioners Administrative Services Department. All documentation submitted to the County shall become public record and governed as such by Chapter 119, Florida statutes.
All organizations must accomplish what is presented and set forth in the grant agreement. If for any reason the requirements of the grant agreement have not been met, the County has the right to withhold any payment and/or terminate the grant agreement.

1. Final Status Report: Within forty-five (45) days of the completion of the activity or event that promotes tourism within DeSoto County, the grantee must summarize its efforts by providing the following information:
• A brief narration of the event.
• An evaluation of the economic impact the event had on DeSoto County.
• Includes local attractions that were visited as part of the event, and local restaurants or businesses utilized as part of the event.
• Photographs, if any, of the event.
• Flyers, newspaper ads, brochures or marketing efforts utilized to attract tourists. Final estimated number of event participants.
• Room Night Certification Form - the organization must make every effort to obtain the number of overnight stays from local hotels within the County that housed those attending the event. This means that for events requiring registration, the grantee should make available a list of County hotels (and other transient rental facilities) and encourage overnight stays. For those events that do not require registration, information should be provided during the event to encourage an overnight stay. After the event, the grantee will be required to request the hotel to provide information regarding the number of individuals residing at the hotel as a result of the event.
o Event surveys - The organization should also provide volunteers to randomly survey event attendees to form a rational percentage of total attendance that became an overnight stay. The Tourist Development Office can help coordinate this data collection.
2. A financial statement listing all of the revenues received and expenses paid in the course of the event.


A Request for Funds Form must be completed on a reimbursement basis only and made after proof of paid invoices are presented and submitted to the Economic and Tourist Development Department for interim draws and for final payment. Reimbursement of funds must stay within the confines of the Project Expenses outlined in your award document. Payment is on a reimbursement basis and proof of paid invoices, tear sheets of ads, copies of programs, schedule of the airing of audio and video advertisements, copy of canceled check (front and back), must be provided prior to payment of grant funds to the organization. Grantee is required to submit verification in writing that all subcontractors and vendors have been paid for work and materials previously performed or received prior to receipt of any further payments.
The following will not be accepted for payments: statements in place of invoices; checks or invoices not dated; tear sheets without date or company name. A tear sheet is required for each ad for each day or month of publication. A proof of an advertisement will not be accepted.

Organization representative must complete final report within forty-five (45) days of the close of the event.

Organization is responsible to make sure reimbursement requests are submitted to the Economic and Tourist Development Office within forty-five (45) days after end of event. Request received after that date will not be reimbursed. This is your responsibility and no reminder notices will be sent form the Economic and Tourist Development Office or the Tourist Development Council.

If project budget has specific categories with set dollar limits, the Grantee is required to include a spreadsheet to show which category each invoice is being paid from and total of category before payment can be made to Grantee. No advanced payment of expenses by the County is authorized.

*Reimbursement process subject to change to maintain compliance with County policy and/or auditor advice or requirements.

If Tourist Development Tax funds become inadequate to fund all or part of a Tourist Development grant, the County reserves the right to reduce funding to a grantee accordingly.

There are no guarantees that all applicants will be awarded funding. Even though a project may qualify, limited funds may not allow all projects to receive assistance. All decisions regarding the award of grant funds are at the sole discretion of the Board of County Commissioners following recommendations of the Tourist Development Council.

For More Information, call 855-REAL FLA
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