CANANDAIGUA, NY – Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, the official tourism promotion agency for Ontario County, is instituting grants designed to engage tourism-focused not-for-profits to create a positive visitor experience, enhance accessibility, and grow their business. The program, called the Visitor Experience Fund, provides matching funds on a competitive application basis to improve the visitor experience in Ontario County. The 2019-20 focus is on Accessibility for All.
“Finger Lakes Visitors Connection has committed itself to a leadership role in accessibility and wishes to create a greater level of accessibility to visitors,” said Valerie Knoblauch, president and CEO of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. “For persons with disabilities, traveling can be a challenge. Finding information on accessible services, booking a room to fulfill access needs, or second language including services for the deaf or hearing impaired can prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming. We are offering our tourism partners opportunities to improve those challenges.”
Funding available for the Visitor Experience Fund grant is $25,000; grant levels are up to $5,000 with a 50% match of either in-kind or cash. Funds will be distributed on a reimbursement-basis only.
To be considered, applicants should:
- Be a 501c3 or 501c6 or governmental enterprise.
- Submit an application that directly impacts a tourism related facility in Ontario County.
- Ensure the primary audience is visitors (those persons traveling outside of their normal place of residence or business for activities of leisure or meetings).
- Have a paid, full- or part-time professional executive/managing staff or demonstrated sound governance, administrative and financial practices.
For a project to be considered, the endeavor should meet the following basic criteria:
- Address accessibility as a priority.
- Be completed between January 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021.
Competitive application strength will be measured by rubric scores if the fully completed and documented application is submitted by the deadlines noted in the application.
The deadline for applications Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. Two voluntary informational workshops will be held to overview the program and address any questions at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection office at 25 Gorham Street, Canandaigua. The sessions will be held Monday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. For more information on project criteria, examples of accessibility projects, a timeline, and requirements of reporting/accountability, please visit VisitFingerLakes.com/Partners. You may also call (585) 394-3915 for more information or to RSVP for an informational session.