Kent City Council approves $500,600 in lodging tax grant awards

The Kent City Council this week approved $500,600 in business or leisure tourism promotion grant awards for 2019, as recommended by the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Also known as the “hotel/motel tax,” the lodging tax is a 1 percent tax on overnight stays at area hotels, motels, campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks. Under state law, cities can use this tax revenue for business and leisure tourism-related events and marketing purposes.

After publicizing the grant opportunity last summer, the city received 33 applications with requests totaling over $1.4 million, exceeding the $546,000 available. During three separate meetings, the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee evaluated the applications and recommended funding for 23 activities and events.

The Council approved the expenditures for the following:

  • $96,500 – Kent leisure tourism marketing
  • $75,000 – Marketing for economic growth and business travel
  • $63,600 – Seattle Thunderbirds 2019-20 hockey season promotions
  • $60,000 – accesso ShoWare Center marketing and specific events
  • $30,000 – Students for the Exploration and Development of Space job fair in conjunction with National New Space Conference
  • $26,700 – Aerospace Futures Alliance and Washington State Space Coalition “Lift and Launch” event
  • $20,000 – Economic development and business recruitment website
  • $16,000 – Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Festival
  • $15,000 – Local space industry promotion event in conjunction with National New Space Conference
  • $12,500 – Kent Chamber of Commerce operations and tourism promotion
  • $10,000 – FIRST Washington’s Lego League and Tech Challenge State Championship
  • $10,000 – Kent Downtown Partnership’s website
  • $9,700 – Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Cascade Chapter Symposium
  • $9,000 – Destination Moon: Weekend Family Workshops & Summer Fun
  • $8,600 – Aerospace Futures Alliance Aerospace Summit
  • $6,300 – New Space Conference Kent promotion
  • $4,400 – National Main Street Conference, Kent Culinary Food Tour
  • $3,800 – Men’s Conference Dual USSSA Major
  • $2,000 – USA Softball Girls Fastpitch Tournaments
  • $10,000 – PGA Washington Open Invitational
  • $7,500 – Center for Advanced Manufacturing industry meetings and events
  • $1,100 – Valley Cities Geocaching Adventure
  • $2,900 – Highline Golf Invitational

“By funding these events and activities, we’re not only bringing more people to Kent for business and recreation, but the types of activities coming to Kent next year really substantiate and elevate our positive attributes as a hub for aero and outerspace innovation,” said Council President Bill Boyce.

“Since the majority of Kent’s overnight stays are generated by business travelers, it’s fitting to use some of the lodging tax for business recruitment opportunities. The idea is by attracting more businesses to Kent, we’ll generate more economic activity, leading to more overnight stays,” Boyce added.

The advisory committee is chaired by Council President Bill Boyce and includes hotel representatives from Best Western, Hampton, and Wyndham, and representatives from accesso ShoWare Center, Kent Chamber of Commerce and Kent Downtown Partnership.

The next application period for Lodging Tax grants opens March 1 – April 30, 2019.

For more details about Kent’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, visit KentWA.gov/LTAC.