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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
With no quorum present, the Ste. Genevieve joint tourism group met Oct. 17 and spent nearly an hour going over various items.
Among the topics the combined Tourism Tax Commission and Tourism Advisory Council looked at were marketing sponsorships, submissions for a comprehensive marketing plan, a state outreach program, and the 2024 total eclipse.
On the topic of marketing sponsorships, City Administrator Happy Welch said that some feedback had been received on the proposal. Grant sizes were changed to $250, $500 and $1,000. Also, how many days ahead of the event the application had to be submitted was discussed. The options were 10, 30 or 90 days.
It was agreed to go with 30 days.
“If they bring it at 30 days and we don’t get to it they’re out of luck,” Aldermanic Liaison Joe Steiger said. “They should have been more proactive and got it to us sooner.”
Dena Kreitler noted that if submitters waited until a month before their event and the group had no quorum or could not meet, “It’s on them. They’ve had this window.”
The group agreed to keep the maximum $1,000 sponsorship, after some discussion.
“Assuming the money is there, as long as they meet the criteria, I don’t see why we would have to say, ‘We’re only going to give you $500,’ unless the money is not there,” Mike Fallert said.
“I think it would depend on the criteria,” Kreitler said. “If they’ve matched everything, then they should get the full amount.”
Welch said three five-year tourism marketing plans had been submitted. He asked members to evaluate each plan. He noted that it was not a bidding process, where the lowest cost would be selected.
“In this case, we’re looking for the group that would give us the best product,” he said, “and not go above what our budget is.”
Welch said they would move forward with picking a plan, rather than waiting on new tourism director Aaron Smith to start (which will be Dec. 4).
Welch explained that they should pick out the best plan, then they can go back to that firm and negotiate a price.
“And if you don’t like what that number is you go to the next person in line,” he said.
When Steiger sought clarification on the process, Laura Oliver remarked that it was “kind of like online dating.”
“What we’re looking at is general company qualifications, related projects to tourism, proposed team and the eclipse,” Welch said.
They agreed to have a lunch meeting Nov. 1 to make the selection.
The final item was something the state of Missouri is looking into. Several other states are already involved in UTX/USA Outreach, “a business to business digital platform, trying to update suppliers,” in Welch’s words.
“When we talk about suppliers, they’re trying get folks that have rooms to rent, things for them to do, activities, those sorts of businesses,” Welch said. “So it would be Park Service, State Parks, French Colonial, the museum leaning center. What they’re to do is build that database for those outside the US.”
It is a database that would help foreign companies put together tour packages for trips to the US.
Welch said there does not appear to be any cost.
“I don’t see why you wouldn’t put yourself out there,” Oliver said.
Welch noted that, “It seems to be well thought-out.”
It was agreed that Welch would send more information on it to local entities.
There will be a webinar Oct. 25.
Kreitler asked Welch whether Smith would “jump in,” to help organize events for the April 8, 2024 total eclipse, as soon as he takes over. Ste. Genevieve will be in the center of its path, as it was with the August 2017 eclipse.
Kreitler said she has been “getting a lot of emails about eclipse stuff.”
Welch is reluctant to overload the fifth tourism director since the fall of 2019.
“I’m not going to volunteer him for anything at this point,” Welch said.
Kreitler said there seems to be interest in having a downtown event the day before, like in 2017.