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Pahrump gets tourism marketing funds boost

Pahrump and other surrounding communities are getting a boost in funds for marketing efforts through several state grants.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism approved more than $660,000 in grants to help local tourism organizations around the state promote their local areas at a December meeting.

Pahrump and Amargosa Valley received $29,500 of those dollars, which are distributed through the Nevada Division of Tourism’s Rural Marketing Grants program, according to data released from the division.

Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, said the “grants represent some of the best efforts to drive visitation to our rural communities.”

The town of Pahrump was awarded the local area’s largest grant totals, at $11,500, for its local efforts that encompass photography and associated production costs. The funds from three separate grants will also assist with promotional products and financing for trade and travel shows for the town of Pahrump.

The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce was awarded $10,000 for its Pahrump Magazine Visitation &Relocation Guide efforts.

The town of Amargosa Valley received $8,000 in assistance for its Amargosa Days, planned for the spring of 2018.

The town of Tonopah also received six grants totaling $15,815. Also, the Tonopah Historic Mining District received $1,200 for a newsletter project for the mining district.

Impact of funding

According to a news release from the Nevada Division of Tourism, commonly known as Travel Nevada, the tourism industry in rural Nevada is valued at $2.3 billion, which supports 27,870 jobs in the state.

The impact of the rural marketing grants has pushed the needle on financial impact for the state. According to data from Travel Nevada, the financial impact of the grants hit over $201 million for fiscal year 2017 for the rural areas of Nevada.

The impact for fiscal year 2018 has yet to be calculated, though $1.65 million in grant funds has been sent out by Travel Nevada during the period. More than $33.6 million in grant funding for the program has been released to rural areas in Nevada for marketing efforts since 1984, according to data from Travel Nevada.

Economic impact is determined by, at the baseline, how many overnight visitors and room nights result from a funded project, which grant recipients report to Travel Nevada, according to Kari Frilot, rural programs manager for Travel Nevada.

Travel Nevada then takes those numbers and factors in the average “nongaming and gaming daily expenditures per overnight visitor” in rural Nevada. That average is calculated through the division’s domestic visitor study, and then used to determine the financial impact the grant money has on the rural areas of Nevada, Frilot added.

“This figure takes into account the average expenditures per day that rural Nevada visitors make (which includes things such as entertainment, meals, shopping, etc.) while within the state,” she said. “We then report that calculation on a statewide level.”

Inside the numbers

According to data from the town of Pahrump, visitation was up during fiscal year 2017, which closed at the end of June 2017, over fiscal year 2016. A 12.49 percent increase occurred during that period with 478,756 visitors coming to Pahrump through fiscal year 2017 over 425,600 in fiscal year 2016, which was an increase of 53,156 visitors.

Occupancy at hotels and motels in the Pahrump area decreased slightly by 0.54 percent during fiscal year 2017 over 2016, according to data from the town of Pahrump.

Pahrump’s RV parks saw a 3.35 percent increase during fiscal year 2017 over fiscal year 2016, statistics from the town of Pahrump showed.

The number of room nights in Pahrump was also up by nearly 7 percent in fiscal year 2017, which sat at 316,643, up from 296,070 in fiscal year 2016.

This is the second of two funding periods for Travel Nevada’s rural marketing grants program, said Bethany Drysdale, chief communications officer for Travel Nevada.

Funding, however, isn’t released until an activity occurs.

“The grants are distributed in the form of reimbursements to the recipients after the projects are completed and labor and funding details are documented,” said Chris Moran, a spokeswoman for Travel Nevada.

The next funding period is for fiscal year 2019, with applications open starting on Feb. 5, 2018 and closing on April 20.

Funding for the rural marketing program does not come from Nevada’s general fund, but from three-eighths of 1 percent of room tax revenue in the state, according to a news release from Travel Nevada. Grant recipients must provide a 50-50 match for funds or volunteer hours if a waiver has not been granted.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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