Local Tourism and Convention Bureau Program
CSFA Number: 420-25-1606
Agency Name
Department Of Commerce And Economic Opportunity (420)
Agency Identification
Agency Contact
Greg Mihalich
Short Description
Providing grants to certified convention and visitors bureaus to market their service areas to generate increased hotel/motel occupancy and travel into and throughout the State of Illinois impacting the economic growth of the tourism industry.
Subject Area
Economic Development
Program Function
Business and Commerce
Enabling Legislation
Section 605-705(a) of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois [20 ILCS 605/605-705(a) authorizes a program for the establishment of grants with certified local tourism and convention bureaus from the Convention and Local Tourism Account in the Tourism Fund.
Objectives and Goals
The intent of the program is to generate increased hotel/motel occupancy and travel into and throughout the State of Illinois impacting the economic growth of the tourism industry.
Types of Assistance
Formula Grants
Uses and Restrictions
In accordance with the Act, annual appropriations made by the General Assembly to the Department for the purpose of this program are allocated as follows:

a) 1/3 of the annual appropriation shall be used for grants to bureaus located within Chicago; and

b) 2/3 of the annual appropriation shall be used for grants to bureaus located throughout the remainder of the State. Subject to the cap set forth below, these funds will be distributed based on a formula containing the following weighted factors: 5% population of the bureau service area; 30% food/beverage tax collected in the bureau service area; and 65% of the State's hotel/motel tax collected in the bureau service area during the prior calendar year.

c) With the exception of bureaus located in Chicago, no bureau shall receive a grant in excess of $720,000 in State fiscal year 2005. Each fiscal year thereafter, the cap shall be raised or lowered by the same percentage change that is made to the Department's appropriation to the Program, using State fiscal year 2005 as the base year.

Promotional costs should total at least 90% of the grant award and administrative costs should not exceed 10% 0f the total grant award. Salaries and related payroll expenses for the program year (total of salaries related to both promotional and administrative costs) paid with the LTCB funds shall not exceed 50% of the total grant funds awarded.

Examples of eligible promotional activities include, but are not limited to:
A) Production of printed materials, e.g., brochures, visitor guides, rack cards, and/or maps that promote:
a. the entire destination;
b. multiple attractions within a destination; or
c. a festival or event that will attract a minimum of 25% of its visitors from outside a 50-mile radius and that has been advertised, with at least 75% of promotion outside a 50-mile radius. This third provision may be waived at the Department's discretion if documentation is submitted to show that the destination or event attracts more than 50 percent of its overnight stays from within a 50-mile radius;
B) Travel/trade show booth space rental, purchase of booth, registration fees, and/or associated travel expenses (transportation, lodging, per diem at State rate) for a maximum of two bureau staff. Justification is required for additional people to attend;
C) Hosting of familiarization tours;
D) Placement and production costs of Internet, newspaper, magazine, radio, or television advertising to promote travel to the area. Advertising shall be distributed outside a 50-mile radius of the promoted destination or event. Bureaus that provide documentation to the Department that at least 25% of their overnight visitors are from within a 50-mile radius may place that documented percentage of their advertising dollars for distribution within the 50-mile radius of the destination or event. Advertising placed in the cities of Chicago or St. Louis that is circulated to the entire distribution area does not require the above documentation;
a. Membership dues for travel/tourism related associations or organizations;
E) Billboards utilized for tourism promotion, including design/installation of advertising and rental of space;
F) Premiums for tourism promotional purposes bearing the Department logo;
A) Production of tourism promotional videos;
B) Salaries;
C) Postage used in fulfillment and direct mail promotions;
D) Marketing research studies;
E) Telephone charges related to provision of tourism products/services information;
F) Internet sites that are linked to IOT's web site and;
G) Sponsorships that are evidenced by a prior written agreement between IOT and the recipient entity describing the activities to be undertaken with the sponsorship. Sponsorship funds may be used for reasonably necessary event expenses, provided, however, that:
a. No more than 50% of the sponsorship amount comes from grant funds, the balance being paid from matching funds; and
b. Sponsorship funds are expended on eligible promotional activities.

Examples of activities ineligible for payment from grant promotional funds include, but are not limited to:
A) Any administrative/operational expenses (copying, insurance, audits, accounting services, rent, office supplies, equipment, normal office postage, and non-promotional telephone expenses);
B) Purchase of any alcoholic beverage;
C) Feasibility studies; and
D) Salaries of administrative or clerical support staff.

Examples of projects eligible for payment from grant administrative funding include, but are not limited to:
A) Administrative expenses (copying, normal office postage, insurance, audits, accounting services, phone, rent, office supplies, or equipment lease/rental) associated with tourism promotional activities of the bureau; and
B) Salaries of bureau administrative or clerical support staff.

Examples of activities/expenditures ineligible for payment from the grant administrative funds include, but are not limited to:
A) Lease/purchase agreements for any items;
B) Purchase of equipment;
C) Purchase of any alcoholic beverage;
D) Feasibility studies; and
E) Penalties, fines, fees or interest charges assessed as a result of late payment.
Eligibility Requirements
Must be a previously certified Convention and Visitors Bureau to apply for funds. Further details can be found at 14 IL Admin Code 550.60
Eligible Applicants
Application and Award Processing
This grant program follows pre-award procedures established by the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, except for:

Notice of Funding Opportunity
Merit Review
Allowance of Indirect Costs

All bureaus shall complete an application for funding. The bureau shall retain one copy and submit one original of the application to the Department's Springfield address. Failure to provide any information requested in the application will result in the application not being processed. A bureau's application for funding under the Local Tourism and Convention Bureau Program shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
A) Standardized application form;
B) Name and signature of the bureau's chief executive officer, salary, and length of employment with the bureau;
C) A Marketing Plan detailing all activities to be initiated through the LTCB grant during the fiscal year;
D) Area to be served, such as municipalities, counties, etc.;
E) Project Budget Plan itemizing budget expenditure activities proposed for LTCB grant and eligible match monies;
F) Line-item breakout of source of local match funds;
G) A certified statement, from the authorized official of the municipalities or counties that support the bureau with local hotel/motel taxes, specifying the amount of local hotel/motel tax that will be provided to the bureau during the fiscal year for the bureau's use and expenditure on eligible program activities and for match for the State grant;
H) Name of the financial institution that will serve as the depository for LTCB grant and match funds;
I) Fund account number for LTCB grant and match funds; and
J) Names, titles, and sample signatures for those persons who will be required to authorize all account transactions, with a minimum of two signatures required.

Upon receipt of applications from bureaus, the Department shall review the applications and:
A) Grant the full amount requested; or
B) Ask for additional information to clarify or document the information contained in the application; and/or
C) Reduce the amount of grant funds requested if there are insufficient match funds, or the projects presented in the Marketing Plan do not focus on important tourism promotional activities and have little substance, i.e., no media promotions planned, no promotional materials being developed, the projects are not reasonable and are not consistent and workable, and the bureau cannot effectively carry out the projects. In the event that funding of a grant request is reduced, the bureau may appeal to the Director of the Department within 10 days after notification. The request for review shall be submitted in writing to the Director and shall contain the reasons for appeal and any additional tourism related information the bureau chooses to submit in support of its appeal. The Department shall notify the bureau in writing of the Director's decision within 15 days after receipt of the appeal.

Assistance Consideration
Administrative Match Requirements
Each grantee must provide match for grant funds received under the Program. Match expenditures must equal or exceed grant funds expended, as well as any interest earned on grant funds that is also expended, except that, during fiscal year 2013, the Department shall require that any grantee shall provide matching funds equal to no less than 50% of the grant amount. If a grantee fails to match any portion of the grant award in a given fiscal year, that portion of the grant shall be refunded to the Department in accordance with the terms of the Grant Agreement. In-kind contributions shall not be used to satisfy match requirements. Additional details can be found at 14 IL Admin Code 550.70
Post Assistance Requirements
This grant program follows post-assistance procedures established by the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act.

In addition to the audit requirements per the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, the grantee shall be responsible for securing a compliance audit if the grant award exceeds $500,000 or a determination is made that an audit is in the best interest of the State. Audits shall be performed by an independent certified public accountant, licensed by authority of the State of Illinois. In addition to having to return grant funds spent in violation of this Part or the Grant Agreement, the grantee may be deemed ineligible to apply for and receive funds under this Program for a maximum of two years. The Department shall reserve the right to perform special audits of these funds during normal working hours.
Regulations, Guidelines, Literature
14 IL Admin Code 550
Funding By Fiscal Year
FY 2020 : $18,073,000
Federal Funding
Notice of Funding Opportunities
Agency IDGrantee NameStart DateEnd DateAmount
20-751006Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau DBA Choose Chicago07/01/201906/30/20203,967,000
20-751016Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau07/01/201906/30/20201,516,113
20-751027Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau07/01/201906/30/20201,516,113
20-751032DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau07/01/201906/30/20201,516,113
20-751031Greater Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau07/01/201906/30/20201,513,945