Columnists

Hamilton County Tourism Receives Grant for ‘BEST Project’ Study, Strategic 10-Year Plan

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. (HCT) a major grant to lead a milestone study that will explore potential infrastructure and program investments for HCT and its affiliate, Hamilton County Sports Authority.

The BEST (Business of Entertainment, Sport and Tourism) study will guide future entertainment, group and sports tourism-related capital investments, identify job training needs and identify other endeavors aimed to create greater resilience and grow tourism’s economic impact for Hamilton County in the next 10 years.

The study is led by Hamilton County Tourism Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer Karen Radcliff and a 30-member committee of leaders and stakeholders in the public, private and non-profit tourism business sectors. The committee will issue a request for proposal (RFP) in June and hire a qualified planning group to conduct a series of studies that will lead to a master plan. The EDA grant covers $208,000 of the study’s $520,000 total cost, and HCT will cover the balance.

The study data, along with the expertise of the BEST Project committee, will represent a deep analysis of the marketplace and will set a course for a long-range vision and strategic investments over the next decade.

According to Hamilton County Tourism President/CEO Brenda Myers, the HCT board and officials will utilize BEST Project data and research to target three areas of need to grow and sustain the county’s tourism industry:

  1. A tourism investment plan that prioritizes infrastructure and programs that best support a resilient and sustainable tourism economy.
  2. A financial sustainability plan that ensures income streams for sport, entertainment and group tourism product development.
  3. A tourism workforce development strategy that connects training and degree programs directly to tourism-related employment and advancement opportunities, with emphasis on greater equity and a more diverse workforce.

“We are grateful the Economic Development Administration shares our vision for the BEST Project and how it will create sustainable growth in the coming years,” said Myers. “Research and data are a cornerstone for Hamilton County Tourism’s business and development activities.”