The city of Fort Worth has seen significant growth in tourism since the toll taken during the pandemic. Now a new contract with Visit Fort Worth, its tourism marketing arm, seeks to boost everything from sporting events to film production in the city.
The new contract for sales, public relations, and creative services supports a visitor economy that brings in $3 billion in annual economic impact and supports more than 30,000 jobs, the city said.
“Remembering how the bottom fell out of the travel industry during the pandemic, we are now seeing robust growth and stability in the recovery of culture and tourism revenue streams,” Mike Crum, director of Public Events for the City of Fort Worth, said in a statement.
The contract would fund Visit Fort Worth for a total of $21.4 million, which includes a $3 million rotating loan to elevate the organization’s use of the Texas Event Trust Fund Program.
The Fort Worth City Council is scheduled to vote on the contract at its April 25 meeting, the city said. The five-year contract would be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2022.
Funding, spending, and incentives
Visit Fort Worth and the city’s Public Events Department are funded by Culture & Tourism dollars that are mostly generated by hotel occupancy taxes and do not draw from the City’s General Fund.
“We’re grateful for the city’s support for sharing the Fort Worth welcome with more people than ever,” Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth, said in a statement. “This proposed contract reflects immense opportunities based on our success attracting conventions and sports events, and creating new advertising campaigns.”
The city said the contract renews support for Visit Fort Worth’s mission to raise awareness via marketing and media exposure, and deliver economic impact by securing sports events and conventions.
It would add $100,000 to a facilities incentive fund for booking sports events, $150,000 for film production incentives, and $50,000 in matching funds for Fort Worth Herd capital equipment.
The contract also includes a $3 million rotating loan from the Culture & Tourism fund that can be used to incentivize bids for sports events eligible for the State of Texas’ Event Trust Fund, according to the city.
Poised to attract more events
Fort Worth said it $18 million budget is dwarfed by Dallas $60 million budget and San Antonio’s $33 million.
In terms of the top 20 U.S. cities, Fort Worth comes in at No. 13 in funding, behind Charlotte, Denver, Seattle and Houston, the city said.
Fort Worth said that with a convention center expansion underway and the city gaining popularity as a global destination, it’s poised to attract even more convention and meeting business.
Visit Fort Worth said its creative campaigns and innovative programs such as Film Fort Worth and Hear Fort Worth continue to strengthen its entertainment offerings for visitors, as well as amenities for residents.
The Public Events Department oversees and funds operations at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Office of Outdoor Events, and the Fort Worth Convention Center.
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