Last year, city residents voted to implement a new 3% tax on hotel, motel, and short-term rental stays in order to increase the city’s promotional and tourism efforts. Now the tourism tax is bearing fruit and the newly established Laurel Tourism Committee is hard at work to find innovative ways to reinvest the funds into the community. First up, is their event sponsorship funding. The funding program works like a grant to encourage the development and promotion of local events. Event organizers can apply for up to $2,500 in sponsorship from the City of Laurel to create, host, and/or promote their event.
The committee’s mission is to increase visitor traffic to the city, act as a liaison between local hosts and potential visitors, and, ultimately to “position the City of Laurel as a regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized destination by developing quality marketing programs and sales outreach to attract visitors.”
Applicants for sponsorship funding will need to demonstrate how their event or proposed event will support the city’s aims to increase visitor traffic. Individuals and organizations interested in applying for sponsorship funds may do so by downloading the application materials from the city’s website at Laurelms.com.
Applicants must be 21 years old or older, show valid ID, and must submit all forms required by the application process. If awarded, event organizers will be required to recognize the City of Laurel in all print promotions and in verbal acknowledgements associated with the event. They will also be responsible for keeping appropriate records. Since the City of Laurel is subject to the auditing processes of the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, any funds awarded to a third-party individual or organization are subject to audit as well.
Applicants should submit their funding requests at least sixty days in advance of their planned event in order to ensure that funding can be approved and distributed before the event takes place.
All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and partial funding for a request may be granted.
Funds will be distributed at the discretion of the tourism committee and the mayor’s office. The city reserves the right refuse funding for any program.
“It will be exciting to see what new events we can bring to Laurel with this program and how our current event organizers can use this program to develop and grow their current offerings. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of new people in town!” Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said. “Stay tuned for more great news from our tourism committee as they work to reinvest our tourism tax in innovative and impactful ways.”
For more information on this program, please contact the City of Laurel at 601.428.6401.