Tourism Events Program (TEP)

The Tourism Events Program aims to strengthen B.C.'s reputation as an events destination by providing supplemental marketing funds to event organizers to amplify the reach of an event and attract additional overnight visitors.

Last updated: May 11, 2022

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How the fund works

The Tourism Events Program (the program) provides funding for up to 10% of your total event budget up to a maximum of $250,000 per event (minimum of $10,000).  You can use these funds to cover a range of marketing expenses.

Note: The total event budget must be a minimum of $100,000 to be eligible to apply.

Objectives

The program supports the marketing and growth of events with the aim to:

  • increase tourism benefits for communities by driving visitation from outside the region and the province
  • increase economic benefits by showcasing key regional tourism attributes and extending visitor stays
  • enhance BC’s reputation as an events destination and develop a year-round sustainable calendar of events
  • support community resilience through economic growth, job creation, and providing positive benefits for the community
  • support broader Provincial tourism priorities identified in the Strategic Framework for Tourism 2022 - 2024

Support will be considered for events that:

  • can provide an estimation of economic impact, including overnight visitation and length of stay;
  • focus marketing activities on driving visitation from outside the local area;
  • align with key tourism strategies and broader government priorities;
  • demonstrate financial sustainability and management capacity;
  • are positioned and staged to provide the greatest benefit to communities (outside of peak season or holiday periods) and help to build a year-round calendar of events;
  • appropriately showcase and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion; and,
  • support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Application process

Funds are limited and grants will be awarded through a competitive process. Each eligible event requires a separate application package.  If your application is approved, it may not be funded at the amount requested.

Organizations may submit more than one application.

Applications must be submitted by 1 pm PST on May 31, 2022. Funding decisions will be communicated by August 2022.


Eligibility

Who can apply

You can apply for the fund if you are organizing an eligible event and it meets the eligibility criteria.

What kinds of events are eligible

Eligible events are those that are accessible to the public and are generally sporting, arts, or cultural events.  The following are examples of the types of events that are eligible and ineligible if they meet all the criteria.

  • Sporting events and festivals, such as:
    • spectator sport events
    • organized races & competitions
    • exhibition events
  • Arts and culture events and festivals, such as:
    • multi-cultural festivals
    • performances
    • art walks & mural festivals
    • film festivals
  • Live music festivals
  • Events that are primarily commercial, retail, religious, political, or academic in nature, such as:
    • consumer shows
    • conventions
    • meetings and conferences
    • seminars and clinics
    • rallies
    • educational competitions
    • pageants
    • award ceremonies
    • Christmas craft fairs or other vendor-based markets
    • farmers' markets
  • Attractions, shows, tours, or recurring events held over an extended period of time:
    • seasonal arts & cultural events
    • scheduled art exhibitions or other regular programming
    • seasonal spectator sport games/leagues
  • Community events/holiday celebrations that target residents rather than attract visitors
  • Fully virtual events
  • Event venues

Email TourismEventsProgram@gov.bc.ca to discuss eligibility if:

  • Your event type is not listed
  • You're not sure whether your event is eligible

Mandatory eligibility criteria

To be considered for TEP funding, an event must:

  • take place in B.C. between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023
  • be financially viable and secured
    • events in the bid phase are not eligible
    be a tourism or destination event (i.e., the event draws overnight visitors specifically for the event and is not primarily community focused)
  • have a total event budget of $100,000 or more
  • be able to apply at least the full minimum amount of TEP funding ($10,000) to eligible activities

How to apply

A completed online application and all supporting documentation must be submitted by the application deadline of May 31, 2022, at 1 pm (PST).  Check the required documentation to ensure your application package is complete.  The ministry may contact your organization to verify the information provided.  Late applications will not be considered.

Note: Events are eligible for funding for a maximum of three years and must reapply each year.  An event that has reached the three-year maximum may reapply after a one-year waiting period.

Required documentation

You must submit:

Note: A direct deposit application is not required if you have received a direct deposit payment from the Province of B.C. within the last 12 months and banking information has not changed.

You must submit at least one (up to a maximum of 5) letter(s) of support from:

  • Municipalities
  • Indigenous communities
  • Local destination management organizations
  • Other community partners

Note: The letter(s) of support must be dated, current, and directly reference the event that is being applied for.  Incomplete and/or outdated letters of support will not be accepted.

Your event budget

You must use the Event budget template (XSLX, 17KB) to submit your budget. Do not include the requested grant funding in your event budget.

The budget must include:

  • Anticipated revenues, expenses and other funding sources
  • Total operating costs related to the event

Application guidance

Review the below guidance for specific questions on the application form carefully.

Note: Once you begin your online application, there is no ability to save the application in progress. If you refresh or close your browser, your application will be lost.  The session will also time out after two hours.

The information in this section is required to assess if your organization is eligible for TEP and to collect vital data for distributing funds if your event is successful.  Please note the legal organization name, organization mailing address and organization number on the application must match the information as registered with the B.C. Registry.  This is required to process any payments to successful applicants.  Any discrepancies will delay payment.

Additional paperwork (Direct Deposit Application) may be required if successful applicants would like funding directly deposited into their bank account.  However, this may not be necessary if the organization has already been set up to receive direct deposits, has received a direct deposit payment from the Province of British Columbia in the past 12 months, and has had no changes in banking information.

The information in this section will determine if an event meets the mandatory criteria for evaluation.  If criteria are not met, the application will not move onto the evaluation process.

The information in this section determines if the event is eligible (see Eligibility), provides a detailed description of the event, and requests data that will be used to determine the estimated economic impact of the event. If the event is deemed ineligible, the application will not move onto the evaluation process.

The information in this section outlines the requested funding, provides details on how the funding will be used, and outlines any other provincial and federal funding being sought by the event. For a list of eligible and ineligible expenses, please see How to use your funding. If expenses are deemed ineligible, the requested amount will be reduced accordingly.

The information in this section is used by evaluators to determine how well your event meets and aligns with the objectives of TEP. Guidance on how to answer the application questions is provided below. Please be specific in your responses and use data to support your answers wherever possible, as this will result in higher overall evaluation scores.

Tourism Benefits

Question 1: The forecasted event attendance allows for the evaluation of the event size based on the estimated number of attendees.  It will also determine the tourism impact based on where the attendees originate.

Question 2: This allows for the evaluation of how the event is positioned and staged to provide the greatest benefit to communities (outside of peak season or holiday periods) and help to build a year-round calendar of events.

Economic Impacts

Questions 1 & 2: These questions help determine the tourism and economic value of your event by requesting information on overnight visitation and length of stay.  You are encouraged to reach out to your local Destination Management Organization to assist with estimations of hotel rooms nights generated and average length of stay.  Please provide any additional data, or evidence, to support your answer.

Provincial and Regional Reputation

These questions help determine how TEP funding supports increased destination recognition and therefore competitiveness of the community and region through marketing activities.  Consideration will be given to how activities showcase key tourism attributes beyond the event itself and how activities align with current marketing strategies of the region and the province.

Question 1: Some examples may include the promotion of local and regional experiences either at the event itself or on the event website.  Partnering with local tourism businesses to offer discounts or value-add deals to encourage longer stays in the area.

Question 2: An example may include details of a marketing plan to target a new area, or audience, that can be achieved with supplemental TEP funds. 

Question 3: Describe how your marketing efforts align with local, regional, or provincial marketing and/or strategies.

Community Benefits

Questions 1, 2, 3 & 4: This question helps determine how your event supports the community and economic resiliency through job creation, and how the event brings positive benefits to the community through volunteer opportunities and engagement with local businesses.

Question 5: In addition to required Letters of Support (see Required Documentation), this question helps determine the level of support for an event from local businesses, community organizations, First Nations, and local Destination Management Organizations. 

 Questions 6 & 7: These questions provide information on what efforts your event is undertaking to support key government priorities of diversity and inclusion, and reconciliation with Indigenous partners.

The Province has a commitment to support diversity and inclusion, and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, which is supported through its funding programs like TEP. The following links provide more information on these government priorities:

  • Where We All Belong is a 3-year diversity and inclusion strategy for the BC Public Service. It ensures we are reflective of our province and inclusive of Indigenous peoples, minority communities, immigrants, persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ2S+ community.
  • The Province is committed to develop and support Indigenous tourism development as a vehicle for Indigenous community and Provincial development in the spirit of reconciliation as outlined in the Indigenous Tourism Accord.

For example, describe any relationships built with the local First Nations and what involvement they have with the event.  Describe efforts made connecting with minority groups and any staff training that is undertaken to create a safe and inclusive event.  Briefly outline any accessibility improvements that consider mobility, vision impairment and/or hearing loss.

Strategic Alignment

Question 1: The Strategic Framework for Tourism 2022-2024 outlines provincial priorities for tourism development and stewardship and identifies specific actions to meet the objectives of those priorities. This question asks you to describe how your event supports the priorities and actions identified in this strategy. Please choose as many as applicable and provide data to support where possible.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

Priority

Action

Alignment

Support Communities in Rebuilding and Enhancing their Visitor Economies

 

Invest in arts, culture, heritage, sport, and multiculturalism

 

Describe how your event invests in and promotes arts, culture, heritage, sport, and/or multiculturalism.

Support True and Lasting Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through Tourism

 

Work with Indigenous partners to preserve and promote living cultures and rich heritage of Indigenous peoples, if and how they determine would benefit their community

Describe how your event recognizes and/or incorporates the culture and history of Indigenous peoples.

Build a Cleaner Tourism Industry that is prepared to adapt to climate change

 

Encourage partners to adopt common sustainability policies
and practices, such as through active transportation plans

 

Describe how your event has adopted sustainable practices in its delivery and how it encourages sustainable behaviour by participants

 

Invest in BC's  competitive advantages in the post COVID-19 pandemic era through Destination Management

 

Support local and regional destination development plans and invest in infrastructure and products that elevate the visitor experience

Describe any partnerships or alignment you may have with the regional or local Destination Management Organizations and/or local area destination development plans.

Attract visitors during all four seasons and to more regions of the province to share the benefits of tourism with everyone in BC

Grow visitation through destination brand building, data-driven marketing, and collaboration

Describe how your event specifically addresses growing visitation to your community or region in the low or off-season.

Promote B.C.’s routes, areas and natural beauty in a globally compelling way

Describe how your event promotes the community, surrounding areas and/or province.

This section advises the application that (a) information collected is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and (b) the Income Tax Act, (Canada) may apply to grant funds received by the Applicant Organization. A signature must be provided by an official signatory of the organization applying for the grant.

Online application 

Applications must be submitted by 1 pm PST on May 31, 2021. You can submit applications for multiple events. Each event requires its own application package. 

Note: Once you begin your online application there is no ability to save the application in progress.  If you refresh or close your browser, your application will be lost. The session will also time out after two hours.

To view a checklist of the questions and required documents please use the Application Overview Form.

You will receive a decision on your application by August 2022. All decisions are final.

Submit online application


How to use your funding

You must explain how you intend to use your grant funds on your application. 

You can only use grant funds on eligible expenses for the event for which they were awarded. Unspent grant funds must be repaid.

Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to: 

  • Billboards/digital advertising display
  • Broadcasting and associated costs
  • Contracted marketing staff
  • Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimization
  • Event posters
  • Media buys
  • Promotional signage
  • Program guides for distribution before the event
  • Radio, print, television, and online advertising
  • Social media marketing

Please contact program staff at TourismEventsProgram@gov.bc.ca with any questions regarding eligible costs.

Examples of ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to: 

  • Administrative or operating costs/compensating full-time staff
  • Alcohol
  • Capital or infrastructure costs related to hosting the event
  • Catering
  • Expenses incurred before the funding notification
  • Giveaways
  • Honorariums/appreciation gifts/t-shirts for volunteers
  • Prizes, awards, medals
  • Signage unrelated to promotion of the event
  • Security at an event
  • Talent acquisition or performer/speaker fees
  • Travel or accommodation

Please contact program staff at TourismEventsProgram@gov.bc.ca with any questions regarding eligible costs.

Funding Amount

Funding for eligible activities will be up to 10% of the event budget to a maximum of $250,000 (minimum $10,000), calculated on the event operating expenses excluding any activities that would be covered with TEP funding.  The operating costs described must be for the event itself and not the operating expenses of the applicant organization.

Reporting

After your event, you must submit a report that includes the following:

  • Description of how the grant funding was used for the prescribed purposes
  • Description of community impact and/or testimonials
  • Event attendance, both participants and ticket holders, with point of origin
  • Estimated hotel room nights generated by the event
  • Total number of volunteers engaged and jobs created
  • Impact and reach of the incremental marketing investment funded through TEP

The ministry will provide you with a template for this report. Your report must be submitted within three months after the event concludes.

Your agreement with the ministry

Successful applicants will receive a grant letter from the ministry and will be required to:

  • Adhere to the reporting requirements for this program;
  • Use awarded grant funds for purposes outlined in the application; and
  • Acknowledge this financial support with the presence of the B.C. logo on all public material related to the event grant.

Organizations awarded grant funds may also be subject to post-payment audits to ensure compliance with the fund guidelines. Ineligible use of funds may result in grant funds becoming repayable to the Ministry of Finance.