Use of Tourist Development Funds
According to Florida State Statute 125.0104 section 5(A) 2, tourism funds must be used to promote and advertise tourism in the State of Florida, nationally and internationally. If tax revenues are expended for an activity, service, venue, or event; the activity, service, venue, or event shall have as one of its main purposes the attraction of tourists as evidenced by the promotion of the activity, service, venue, or event to tourists.
The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (AICVB) believes that Special Events are a critical component in its efforts to market Amelia Island as a tourism destination. In general, the AICVB supports Special Events whose primary purpose is the generation of additional room nights at Amelia Island lodging facilities and which support the brand image of the destination. Generally, support for out-of-house special events is limited to direct payment for marketing of the event with design, content, and placement managed by the AICVB staff and/or its designee in conjunction with event organizers. A “Special Event” is an event that will be held on Amelia Island and which promotes visitation to the area from outside Nassau County.
Relationship of the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council and the AICVB
The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (AITDC) is appointed to oversee and administer the tourist development tax within the special taxing district of Nassau County, Florida. The AICVB – a 501(C) 6 non-profit corporation – through a contract with the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) performs the destination marketing activities on behalf of the AITDC. The appointed members of the TDC, concurrently and jointly, serve as the board of directors of the CVB. For the purposes of this policy, the TDC and CVB are synonymous. Any funding for Special Events is a CVB expenditure.
Both Not-For-Profit and For-Profit organizations are eligible for support. Organizations must have significant county ties, established primarily to produce festivals or special events, utilizing private sector community financial support, and volunteers as well as paid staff to carry out the objectives of the organization.
Guidelines for Non-Advertising Support (See Below for Definitions)
In those rare cases where AICVB support is approved for some other purpose than direct advertising, the following conditions apply and will be incorporated into a final performance agreement.
Before receiving funds from the AICVB, the event sponsor must demonstrate that they have secured a minimum of 60% of the non-ticket/ancillary revenue required to meet the revenue budget outlined in the application. To assist the event organizer in securing the sponsorship funds and other financial support to hit this threshold, the AICVB will issue a letter of support to the event organizer that outlines the CVB’s commitment to the event. If the event organizer fails to achieve the 60% threshold established above, the AICVB reserves the right to modify and revoke its support and financial commitment to the event without recourse against the AICVB.
Other Conditions for Consideration
Funding Category Guidelines
Signature Event: (up to $12,500 – $50,000 per event. Reviewed by Staff. Must be approved by AICVB Board)
Large multi-day events, three or more days
Preferably in multiple venues
Generates awareness outside of Amelia Island to attract overnight visitors
50% of tickets sales are tied to packaging with lodging partners or can clearly demonstrate overnight lodging
Half-price tickets must be made available to lodging partners for packaging purposes
Secures sponsors throughout the community. Can quantify success through room nights (retail sales and media coverage may also be considered)
Experience Events: (up to $12,500 per event. May be approved by AICVB staff)
Drives overnight lodging and enhances the visitor experience
Must be able to generate awareness of Amelia Island out of the local market
Events that showcase attributes of Amelia Island
a. Eco-tourism Community
b. Culture / Heritage
c. Culinary Community
d. Beach/Active Lifestyle
New to the Area/Newly Created Event (Can be either Signature or Experience)
Can quantify success through:
i. Detailed research of event potential
ii. Business/Event Plan
iii. Marketing Plan
iv. Secured location or anticipated feasible location
v. Anticipated Budget
vi. Dedicated Sponsors
Procedure to Implement Policy
Each Special Event applying for advertising support will be required to submit a written letter application for the fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) during which support is to be provided. The application must be submitted to the CVB’s President/CEO. The application shall contain the following information:
A logistics outline (including but not limited to: location/site plan; demographic of audience; parking/shuttle plan; security; sanitation; health and safety plans; traffic plans; special needs requirements; and any other logistical information); and an expense budget for producing the event may be required.
Complete media plan for the Special Event that includes: an advertising schedule; public relations activities; proposed creative materials (including but not limited to: display ads, banner ads, websites, fliers, posters); promotional activities to support the event and the related expense budgets for the marketing activities.
A complete revenue budget for the event that includes: the amount of money being invested into the event by the event organizer; the amount of the support request from the AICVB and its intended use; additional sponsorship revenues; anticipated revenues from ticket sales; anticipated revenues from ancillary sales; and any other revenue expected to be generated by the event.
Within 14 business days after receipt of a completed application, the CVB President/CEO or their designee shall approve the marketing request; deny the request; or ask for modifications in the request. Support requests in excess of $12,500 shall require approval of the AICVB Board of Directors. All staff action in response to an application shall be reported to the AICVB Board of Directors at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
The President/CEO has the fiduciary responsibility of maintaining the AICVB’s annual budget. Any support to be awarded after the AICVB Budget is adopted by the AICVB Board of Directors could require an amendment to the budget and, depending upon the materiality of the budget amendment, also an amendment to the AICVB’s Program of Work typically incorporated into its Destination Management Agreement with the Board of County Commissioners of Nassau County. In such instances, support will likely be denied. An applicant disappointed by the decision of the CVB President/CEO may appeal to the AICVB Board of Directors.
In those cases where board action is necessary, which include but are not limited to: the amount and nature of the request; a material change to the AICVB’s Program of Work; and the appeal of an application denied by the CVB President/CEO in whole or in part, the AICVB staff will coordinate with the applicant to allow the applicant to have the opportunity of making a presentation to the next AICVB Board of Director’s Meeting. At the board meeting, the applicant will present first and AICVB staff will respond. The Board may approve the application; ask the event organizer to make changes to the application; or reject the application.
Notwithstanding approval of an application by the Board, neither the applicant nor any third person shall be entitled to rely upon the advertising support which is the subject of the application until a written Performance Agreement between the applicant and the AICVB shall have been entered incorporating the terms of this policy, and such other terms and conditions as may be appropriate. Among other terms and conditions, the Performance Agreement shall provide that:
Nothing in this Policy or in the Performance Agreement shall be construed to make the AICVB a partner or joint venture with the applicant, or to create the impression the AICVB shall have any control over the planning and conduct of the event itself.
Funding shall be contingent upon the applicant obtaining all permits required by law to hold the event and complying with all applicable law in connection with the event.
If any material changes occur in the scope (format, audience, attendance, budget, etc) or marketing (content, placement or strategy) of the event, the AICVB reserves the right to withdraw its support and financial commitment to the event without recourse against the CVB.
All marketing must be approved in writing in advance by the AICVB President/CEO or their designee. All marketing must comply with the AICVB’s cooperative marketing, logo usage and brand standards. All marketing will be placed or conducted by the AICVB, unless agreed otherwise in writing by the AICVB and the applicant. The AICVB reserves the right not to pay any marketing cost that has not been pre-approved as to content or form and placement or conduct.
In addition to the forgoing, in the Performance Agreement the AICVB may reserve a specified portion of the financial support provided to the applicant for purpose of conducting an Economic Impact Analysis of the Festival or Event. The research study will be conducted by the CVB’s research staff or third-party firm in a method and manner consistent with other CVB’s research studies.
If funding in whole or in part is to be provided in any subsequent AICVB fiscal year, the Performance agreement shall state that such subsequent funding will be subject to legislative appropriation without recourse against the AICVB if funding is not recommended by the AITDC or approved by Nassau County in the AICVB Plan of Work and Budget for that subsequent fiscal year(s).
Standard of Review
The mission of the AICVB is to generate visitation to Amelia Island and its attractions/special events, thereby increasing tax revenues, including sales taxes and those imposed on the hospitality industry. In turn, those tax revenues may be used to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the community, provide the support necessary for beach renourishment, and ensure a viable hospitality industry.
To that end, the AICVB maintains an advertising plan for the local tourism industry at large. Within budgeted limits, applications will be evaluated on the extent to which advertising for the Special Event (including but not limited to advertising and other activities for which support is requested) will complement the AICVB marketing plan; the effect of the Special Event and its advertising upon the image or perception of Amelia Island as a destination; and the potential or proven economic benefit of the Special Event to the community, in particular needed, incremental room nights. Due to the inherent nature and art of creating and placing effective and consistent advertising, and the subjectivity of image considerations, the AICVB’s decision whether to expend its limited resources to advertise a particular Special Event will necessarily require subjective and even aesthetic determinations. Accordingly, the AICVB reserves the right in its unfettered discretion to grant or deny in whole or in part an application for advertising and/or non-advertising support for any particular Special Event.