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The Ten Most Often Asked Questions about Tourism AssistanceHow can a community develop a visitor center and/or an interpretive center/museum?
The major thing to consider is whether this project is one that the community as a whole supports or the dream of an individual, group or organization. If the community supports the idea, funding will be easier to find because raising it will take a community effort. Once community support is assured, gather the answers to the following questions:
- Is it a historic building, a public building or some other type of privately owned building?
- Is the building being donated or must it be purchased or leased?
- Does the building need repair or remodeling?
- s the building in a good location for its intended purpose? Or must the organization construct a building on a designated site?
The Institute of Museum and Library Services often has programs that help fund or provide technical assistance to develop museums or interpretive centers.
If the building has some historical significance, the State Historical Society may have funds available for restoration and renovation. Further research of the historical significance may also suggest other funding sources.How can the State help market my community/attraction/site/event?
The best way to market a community, attraction or event is through participation in the Department of Tourism’s cooperative advertising opportunities. Advertising isn’t always cheap. That is why the department firmly believes in pooling resources with partners from the private sector. When it comes to advertising, the more dollars available to spend, the further the message will go. Many of our co-op programs allow partners to reach markets they couldn’t afford on their own. For a list of co-op programs, refer to the Department of Tourism’s current annual report or contact the Department of Tourism. Be sure to contact your local Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau or tourism association to get involved in their marketing efforts.What assistance is there for improving rural highways and streets?
Contact your local county highway superintendent to learn what assistance is available to improve local road conditions. If it is a state highway, contact the Department of Transportation.What funds are available for a special event or promotion?
The best way to fund a special event or a special promotion for your organization/community is through community participation. These events should have strong local support first, and depend upon outside interests (visitors, loans and grants) on a secondary basis.
Local business and civic organizations are the primary funding resources for this type of project. Find the niche that local businesses, groups and organizations may fit. Sell exhibit space and advertisements in program booklets.
Most local, state and federal agencies do not have programs to fund special events/promotions, but you can utilize them in other ways. For example, the Department of Tourism can help publicize your event by listing it on their calendar of events that is available to the traveling public, general media and travel writers who may be interested in attending or covering the event.
The South Dakota Arts Council and South Dakota Humanities Council provide financial and technical assistance for a wide range of community-oriented arts and humanities projects to promote education, development and excellence in the arts/humanities. Consider including the arts and humanities in your special event.How can a recreational center/park be developed?
Depending on the size and complexity of the recreational center or park, assistance can come from local government to national organizations. Locally, your project may be eligible for inclusion in a bond issue.
There are also specific national programs for parks. The U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, Land and Water Conservation Fund offers grants for parks and recreation. The Department of Game, Fish & Parks administers this program that provides financial assistance to acquire land, develop or improve areas and facilities, or a combination of acquisition and development. Currently, the department has no funding available, but contact them for other assistance.What assistance is available to produce a brochure?
Because no one really knows better than you what your customers ask, what your customers want, what your market is, and what you want to say about your product, service or organization, do-it-yourself desktop publishing is a natural method for producing brochures or simple print pieces. Funding and in-kind services can be secured to defray the costs of the professional services that ensure the quality and effectiveness of each publication. Your first resources are in your staff and inyour community, like:
- a writer or reporter for the local newspaper or printer
- a local photographer who will allow you to publish their photos
- a local artist who might provide sketches or illustrations
Ask for an evaluation of your design and/or plans from your local Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau or tourism association. The Department of Tourism can also offer advice or loan you just the right photo from their extensive file.Sponsorship is a technique that may be used to help defray the cost of brochure production. Sometimes a corporation, civic group or local government agency will sponsor the production of a brochure if it serves a community purpose, or if they can include an advertisement to promote their product.What assistance is available for a small business start-up or expansion?
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has a business start-up kit that serves as a valuable resource for getting started. It is designed to cover as many different businesses as possible and to make it as easy as possible to find the answers necessary to determine if starting a business is a feasible option. Small Business Development Centers (page 14-15) offer seminars on initial planning, marketing and financing. They provide one-on-one business consulting and financial packaging. The centers also give advice on recordkeeping, analysis, management and technology.What sources provide funds or assistance for landscaping and beautification projects?
Landscaping and beautification projects must have strong support from your organization or business and from the community. Apply for grants or loans primarily for major purchases or specific services that cannot be secured within the community. Community-based resources for in-kind services are:
- Garden clubs
- Landscapers and landscape architects
- Lawn and garden shops
- Heavy equipment operators
- Building contractors
- Solid waste contractors
- Large local industries
Government and community-based civic organizations may sponsor a beautification project, or donate in-kind services or money. Some of these organizations are:
- State Universities/Technical Institutes
- Extension services
- Chambers of Commerce
- Local law enforcement agencies
- National Guard units