A Tourism Development Program

Bend Cultural Tourism Fund


Bend Cultural Tourism Fund – Daring Layers from Visit Bend on Vimeo.

The Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF) is a grant program created to enhance Bend’s economy through cultural tourism. From musical productions to art exhibits to film festivals and more, the BCTF supports cultural opportunities that draw visitors to Bend.

Visit Bend established the BCTF with the goal of attracting cultural tourists during shoulder seasons and winter months – a time of year when the city’s tourism industry struggles, yet a time when cultural tourism organizations are most active.

Thanks to a ballot measure passed in 2013, Visit Bend is able to fund the BCTF using 7.5% of the organization’s total annual public funding received from the City of Bend. The program awarded $125,000 to cultural tourism organizations in 2015, just under $200,000 in 2017, $205,000 in 2018, and $200,000 in 2019. Awards have supported cultural opportunities ranging from the Deschutes Public Library’s Author! Author! series to a Nordic skiing exhibit at the Deschutes Historical Museum to the launch of the Bend A Cappella Festival in 2016.

Each award applicant is required to demonstrate how the event will draw visitors to Bend, and to provide data afterward showing the event’s success.

As a tourism development program, the BCTF is managed in strict accordance with Visit Bend’s mission, values, purpose, and public accountability. Similar to all Visit Bend’s programs, the BCTF is subject to the highest standards of public accountability, transparency, and financial management.

Got an idea for a cultural opportunity with the potential to draw visitors to Bend? Check out the grant application below to learn more about applying. Questions: Contact BCTF program administrator, Laurel MacMillan by phone: 503.803.8260 or email at laurel@laurelmacmillan.com.

Interested in serving on the BCTC? The Commission is always looking for community members willing to serve. Commissioners attend quarterly Commission meetings and serve two-year terms for up to three consecutive terms. To learn more about current openings how to apply, email Laurel MacMillan at laurel@laurelmacmillan.com.

Update as of April 2, 2020:
Visit Bend has made the tough decision to temporarily place a hold on any future BCTF grant awards for the fiscal year 2020-2021 grant cycle. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the City of Bend’s proclamation to not travel, Bend’s hotel and vacation rental occupancy rates are virtually in the single digits. Because of this, there are not adequate dollars to fund BCTF grants, or to fund Visit Bend itself, for the foreseeable future.

Effective immediately, we are suspending the applications for both the Catalyst and Marketing grants. We will be closely monitoring the situation in the coming months, and will re-open the application period as soon as funding allows. If you have already applied or have started the application process for a 2020-2021 grant, we will retain your application when the program re-opens.