County grants deal for Titusville airshow and Cocoa Beach powerboat races


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County commissioners have approved “major event” grants totaling $ 73,000 for a Titusville air show and a powerboat race in Cocoa Beach, in hopes that the popular shows will attract more. tourism in the region.

Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve grants for the Thunder on Cocoa Beach Super Boat Grand Prix powerboat race and the Space Coast International Air Show at the Space Coast Regional Airport. Both events are scheduled for the same weekend in April.

The money for the grants comes from revenue generated by the county’s 5% tourism development tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

Following:2022 Thunder over Cocoa Beach and Space Coast International Air Show scheduled for the same weekend in May

And:Brevard approves cultural grants for more money than requested groups

The last air show held at the Space Coast Regional Airport, held March 15-17, 2019, drew 99,793 visitors.

Commissioner John Tobia voted against the grants, which had been unanimously recommended by the Brevard County Tourism Development Advisory Board and the TDC Cultural Committee.

Tobia said after the vote that he was generally opposed to this type of use of tourist tax money for grants. He said the money should instead be spent on advertising the Space Coast to potential tourists or improving county parks that attract tourists.

Tobia also voted against a set of 10 smaller grants for sporting events intended to attract tourists. These grants, totaling $ 86,188.30, had already been approved by the Tourism Development Council and the TDC Cultural Committee.

County committee chairperson Kristine Zonka voted in favor of grants for major events, but said she had concerns about the grant program.

“I would just like to warn that these are big sums of money,” Zonka said, adding that the Tourism Development Council might want to revisit the guidelines for grants for large events.

Zonka said she didn’t mind supporting the events, but didn’t want the county “funding” them.

If so, Zonka said, the county would, for example, have to put air shows through a competitive bidding process.

The latest Thunder on Cocoa Beach boat race and related events, which took place May 20-23, 2021, drew 255,794 visitors.

The powerboat race is scheduled for Sunday May 22 off Cocoa Beach, with related events scheduled for May 19, 20 and 21 at Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral. More than 65 motor boat teams are expected.

The air show is scheduled for May 21-22 at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds Air Demonstration Squadron is lined up to be the stars of the show.

According to data compiled for the Space Coast Office of Tourism by Intermix, which tracks cell phone use in specific geographic areas:

  • The latest Thunder on Cocoa Beach boat race and related events, which took place May 20-23, 2021, drew 255,794 visitors, 71.6% of whom were from outside Brevard County. The event had a total economic impact estimated at $ 36.63 million.
  • The last airshow held at the Space Coast Regional Airport, held March 15-17, 2019, drew 99,793 visitors, 49.9% of whom were from outside Brevard County. The event had a total economic impact estimated at $ 9.97 million.

The Tourist Development Council’s Major Events Grants Program is a new program administered by the Space Coast Office of Tourism.

The program was established for large, special events that attract a minimum of 25,000 attendees, with at least 25% of attendees from outside of Brevard County. The event must also have a return on investment of at least 40: 1 for the grant and must spend at least 40% of its marketing budget outside of Brevard.

“This will be achieved by maximizing the marketing resources of the Space Coast Tourism Board to provide a platform for Brevard organizations through collaborative event and marketing support,” the Tourism Board said in a note. to county commissioners.

Ahead of the county commission’s vote in favor of the grants, commissioners heard a public comment from Cocoa Beach resident Janice Scott urging the county to increase support for the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, which will have its 25th festival. annual in 2022..

Scott said the birdwatching festival – which runs from February 2-6 – is “a great family activity” that has “a huge impact on tourism.” She said the tourism draw will increase now that the event will be headquartered in Cape Canaveral. He was previously based in Titusville.

Tourism Bureau Director General Peter Cranis noted that the birdwatching festival would have to meet the criteria of having 25,000 or more attendees and meet other program criteria to be considered for a grant. for a special event.

The birdwatching festival and its parent organization, the Brevard Nature Alliance, secured County Commission approval in September for a grant of $ 3,333.33 through a cultural support grant program. separate for artistic and cultural organizations and events. A total of 17 organizations and events share the $ 150,000 allocated to this program, funded by the tourism development tax.

Sports events scholarships

Separately, the county commission approved grants totaling $ 86,188.30 for 10 sporting events scheduled from April to September 2022.

A variety of sports are represented in the grants, including baseball, bowling, fishing, golf, martial arts, running, soccer, surfing, and triathlon.

The grants and event dates in 2022, along with the expected number of overnight rentals the events will generate, the expected number of out-of-county visitors, and the expected economic impact for the county are as follows:

  • April 8-10: Space Coast Clash Soccer; $ 16,372; 1,500 overnight rentals planned; 3,000 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 4.07 million expected economic impact.
  • April 9-10: Cocoa Beach Triathlon; $ 6,107.25; 280 planned overnight rentals; 542 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 121,408 of projected economic impact.
  • April 22-24: Eastern Surf Association Southeast Regional Surf Championship; $ 17,428; 2,573 overnight rentals planned; 2,255 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 3.06 million of expected economic impact.
  • May 7: United States Beach Running Championships; $ 5,135; 225 planned overnight rentals; 622 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 69,664 of projected economic impact.
  • May 21 to June 12 (weekends only): Florida State Women’s Bowling Tournament; $ 4,274.05; 750 nights in projected rooms; 1,350 visitors planned outside the country; and $ 886,248 of projected economic impact.
  • May 28 to Sept. 5 Coastal Conservation Association Statewide Tournament Anglers Rodeo Fishing Competition; $ 3,614.50; 200 planned overnight rentals; 1,975 visitors planned outside the country; and $ 3.24 million of expected economic impact.
  • June 6-11: combine harvester of the world series Prospect Dugout; $ 16,886; 2,000 overnight rentals planned; 757 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 372,717 of expected economic impact.
  • July 20-22: Sports Illustrated Prospects Space Coast Big Bang Golf Tournament; $ 4,093; 200 planned overnight rentals; 252 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 341,946 of projected economic impact.
  • August 13: Space Coast Rumble Martial Arts; $ 3,735.50; 200 planned overnight rentals; 500 visitors projected outside the country; and $ 56,000 of expected economic impact.
  • September 3-5: National Kidney Foundation’s Surf Pro-Am Rich Salick; $ 8,543; 550 overnight rentals planned; 3,638 visitors planned outside the country; and $ 4.94 million expected economic impact.

Seven of the 10 events are the first grant recipients. Both surf events and the Cocoa Beach Triathlon have already received grants.

Funding levels are based on estimated overnight stays and the scores applicants received from athletic committee members. To be eligible for a grant, an event had to generate at least 200 room rental nights.

According to the memo from the Tourism Board to County Commissioners, “The objective of the grant program is to help the county attract and develop high-quality sporting events that generate significant economic impact by attracting attendees from out of county, room related nights and spending in the local economy.

The maximum grant amount is $ 20,000. The Tourist Board will get partial refunds from the Florida Sports Foundation for some of the grants.

Dave Berman is a business writer at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Berman at [email protected] Twitter: @bydaveberman.

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