Tag Program Overview
MISSION: To expand the economic benefits of tourism across the state by providing competitive, matching grant funds to qualified tourism marketing partners for direct tourism advertising expenditures.
GOAL: To increase overall interest in visitation and visitor spending across South Carolina.
OBJECTIVE: To leverage and expand the Discover South Carolina brand, while maximizing state and local financial resources to deliver relevant tourism brand and retail advertising messaging to targeted consumers.
Of the potential strategies in the tourism sales and marketing toolbox, advertising is the most efficient and effective paid outreach strategy available for reaching targeted audiences. The tourism partner controls the message, the creative look and feel, the placement, the schedule, etc. Further, advertising can be directly measured.
The Tourism Advertising Grant program offers three categories in which qualified partners may apply for grant funding:
- Festivals and Events
In any fiscal year grant cycle, the total Tourism Advertising Grant budget will be allocated as follows:
- 10 percent will be dedicated to funding the Festivals/Events Category
- 30 percent will be dedicated to funding the Attractions Category
- 60 percent will be dedicated to funding the Destinations Category
In a fiscal year grant cycle, if funds from the Festivals/Event category are not fully expended for any reason (insufficient number of applicants, low-scoring applications, etc.), remaining budget funds from this category will be added to the Attractions category budget. If funds from the Attractions category budget are not fully expended in the awards process, the remaining funds from this category will be added to the Destination category budget. SCPRT will make every effort to disperse the total annual Tourism Advertising Grant budget each year.
NEW in 2018/2019: In order to ensure an effective distribution of TAG funds, TAG recipients should only apply for the amount of grant funding they anticipate using during the grant cycle. If an applicant uses less than 80% of their awarded funds during the grant cycle, the applicant’s grant award in a subsequent grant cycle may be subject to a penalty reduction based on the percentage of unused funding from a previous cycle. Due to the overlap of grant cycles and award periods, this evaluation will be based on performance during the most recent, fully completed grant cycled. For example, performance evaluations for grant awards in FY 20 will be based on performance during the FY 18 grant cycle.
- South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions
- Only one application per umbrella organization will be accepted for submission.
- Organizations whose PRIMARY MISSION is tourism marketing– organizations charged with the responsibility of attracting out-of-market visitors to a destination, attraction or festival/event in South Carolina and that:
- Are federal non- profit (501c) organizations
- Have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
- Are a branch of local government in South Carolina with an established tourism-marketing program
- Are headquartered in South Carolina; with the program operating in South Carolina
- Have been in existence for a minimum of one year prior to the fiscal year start
- Must score at least a score of 70 from the application judging process
- State Agencies;
- Organizations that receive other state funds, such as:
- destination specific grants
- state appropriations
FUNDING REIMBURSEMENT MATCH AND FUNDING CAPS:
Applicants are only eligible to apply for one grant each fiscal year through the Tourism Advertising Grant program. The Tourism Advertising Grant program allows qualified tourism partners to opt-in to the reimbursement match category that best complements their marketing budget resources. There are two reimbursement match-level options:
- One-to-one match reimbursements (50% match)
- Two-to-one match reimbursements (33% match)
Each reimbursement level within the three funding categories has a set cap - or maximum amount of funding - the applying organization may seek. Funding caps are as follows:
1 to 1
Up to $3,000
Up to $20,000
Up to $45,000
2 to 1
From $3,000.01 to 6,000
From $20,000.01 to 40,000
From $45,000.01 to 100,000
This means that a qualified Festival or Event that seeks a Tourism Advertising Grant may apply for either up to $3,000 in grant funding or up to $6,000 in grant funding. If the organization applies for any amount up to $3,000 this means the organization must spend twice the application amount in qualified expenses. Then, the organization would be reimbursed half the amount of the qualified expenditures upon proof of performance, up to a $3,000 maximum.
- Festival/Event requesting $1,500 must spend $3,000 to receive a reimbursement of $1,500.
- Festival/Event requesting $3,000 must spend $6,000 to receive a reimbursement of $3,000.
If, however, the organization elected to apply for between $3,001 and $6,000 in Tourism Advertising Grant funding, the organization would be required to spend approximately three times the application amount in qualified expenses (between $9,003 and $18,000) and would be reimbursed for one third (33%) of the qualified expenses upon proof of performance, up to a $6,000 maximum.
- Festival/Event requesting $4,000 must spend $12,121.21 to receive a reimbursement of $4,000.
- Festival/Event requesting $6,000 must spend $18,181.82 to receive a reimbursement of $6,000.
This grant program will fund paid advertising strategies that promote South Carolina tourism. A full list of eligible strategies can be found in the Tourism Advertising Grant Funded Guidelines document.