U.S. Secretary of Commerce announces $196 Million to accelerate travel, tourism and outdoor recreation

24 states and territories receive American Rescue Plan funding targeted at pandemic recovery

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $196 million in American Rescue Plan State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grants to 24 states and territories including Tennessee.

The funds are part of EDA’s $750 million American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, which includes $510 million in State Tourism grants. These investments will support marketing, infrastructure, workforce and other projects to rejuvenate safe leisure, business and international travel. With today’s awards, all 59 states and territories have received State Tourism grants. Last month, 34 states and the District of Columbia received a total of $314 million as part of the first batch of awards.

Projects vary in scope based on locally driven needs. For example, several grantees – from Guam to Georgia – will establish marketing campaigns to draw tourists back. Puerto Rico will use its grant to integrate tourism into distressed urban areas with activities that focus on local artists, cultural influences, and community involvement. Pennsylvania plans to create a diversity, equity and inclusion leadership and workforce training program for the tourism industry. West Virginia will conduct a comprehensive assessment of industry needs to inform the creation of training and development programs for hospitality workers.

“Rebuilding the travel and tourism industry is a key component of the Biden Administration’s plan to build back better and restore the competitiveness of the United States on the global stage,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The State Tourism grants give states and territories the flexible opportunity to boost their local tourism industry and ensure that jobs are restored and tourists return safely.”

“The coronavirus pandemic devasted the travel and tourism industry – the linchpin of many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is proud to give state and territory leaders the resources to build back better through locally led strategies that uniquely address the challenges and opportunities of their state’s travel tourism and outdoor recreation industry.”

EDA’s American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program also includes $240 million in Competitive Tourism grants that will be awarded to advance the economic recovery and resiliency of communities where the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The following states and territories were awarded grants today:

  • Alabama
  • American Samoa
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Republic of Palau
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

For more about EDA’s Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation and other American Rescue Plan programs, please visit: https://www.eda.gov/arpa/.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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