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Empire State Development Announces Application Launch for EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program

Up to $14.25 Million Available Through Federal American Rescue Plan Grant Will Support Efforts of State's Destination Marketing Organizations

Application Portal and Program Guidelines Available Here

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the application launch for the New York State EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program, designed to support the post-pandemic recovery of the state's travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. Up to $14.25 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funding will be competitively sub-awarded to the state's Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) for marketing projects that aim to attract visitors to New York State by promoting tourism programs based on the Division of Tourism’s EDA areas of focus: outdoor recreation, international tourism, and travel trade including Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), amateur sports and group travel.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Under Governor Hochul's leadership, and with the support from our colleagues in the federal government, New York State continues to rebuild and revitalize its tourism industry. Using funding awarded through an American Rescue Plan grant, ESD will support efforts by regional tourism partners to generate increased visitation and revenue in areas primed for growth, reviving this essential state sector."

The program's goal is to positively impact New York State’s tourism industry by making strategic investments in programs and organizations that are working to generate economic growth for New York State and its vacation regions. Through the program's competitive grant process, ESD will ensure that funding is impact-driven and awarded projects are responsive to the program's intended focus. New York State is concentrating on sectors most in need of help, or areas representing the most promising opportunity for growth.

Funding is open to New York State DMOs, and grant requests must equal or exceed $250,000. A DMO is defined as non-profit organization that promotes a location as an attractive travel destination. DMOs can include, but are not limited to, tourist boards, tourism authorities, tourism offices, tourism promotion agencies, and convention and visitors' bureaus.    

ESD Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "These competitive sub-awards to our DMO partners will, on a local and regional level, complement the work I LOVE NY will be doing statewide in tourism segments that represent terrific opportunities for growth. Outdoor recreation, international travel and tourism related to meetings, conferences, amateur sports and group travel are vital to our state's tourism economy and are areas in which New York can really excel. We are excited for the opportunity to expand our promotional work in these areas in this multifaceted way."

More information, including program guidelines and the grant funding application, is available here.

In 2021, the United States Economic Development Administration made $750 million in funding available from the American Rescue Plan to states and communities through its Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation program. New York State applied for, and was awarded funding, with ESD designated as the agency to oversee and administer the grant. Of the $510 million allocated specifically to states, New York was awarded nearly $45 million – the second highest amount of any state. Other funding from this award will enhance I LOVE NY's programmatic work and efforts in the identified EDA areas of focus, and will support similar tourism-related efforts of other specified New York State agencies.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Using loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov  and www.esd.ny.gov.

About New York State

New York State is a premier vacation destination with world-class attractions, picturesque natural beauty, locally sourced cuisine and a booming craft beverage scene, an array of accommodations, and iconic, year-round festivals and events. Its 11 diverse vacation regions feature some of the world’s top ranked beaches; two out of America’s top three favorite state parks; breathtaking Niagara Falls; more ski areas than any other state; one of the nation’s longest foliage seasons; multiple Halls of Fame; North America’s longest, fastest and highest zipline; the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States; and the country’s longest multi-use trail. Add in the state’s unique museums, historic landmarks, cultural sites, charming small towns and urban playgrounds, and it’s no wonder New York has been consistently chosen as a top getaway by travel publications and experts.  To help plan your next New York State vacation, please visit www.iloveny.com.


ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313