NYS EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions

** Applications for the NYS EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program closed on Aug. 23, 2022 ***

Q. I am not sure if I qualify as a “DMO” as defined by the program; who can I contact to clarify this?

A: Please contact [email protected] for eligibility and program-related questions.

Q. Is there a match requirement for this grant program?

A: This is a federally funded program with no required match.

Q. How will funding be distributed to awardees?

A: Up to 25% of the total award will be advanced to the Grantee to be used for eligible project costs. The Initial Advance will be determined upon execution of a contract and a completed Claim for Payment 1, and other documentation as required.     

Subsequent Advances (Payments 2 - 4) to be used for eligible project costs will be disbursed in increments of 25% of the total award, no more frequently than quarterly. Grantee shall spend at least 75% of project expenditures from the previous disbursement and 100% of all earlier disbursements, as demonstrated by documentation including invoices and proof of payment, before ESD provides for the subsequent disbursement. Grantee will submit a completed Claim for Payment with each request, and other documentation as required.

For full disbursement terms please read the program guidelines here.

Q. Are there projects that the NYS Division of Tourism / I LOVE NY is doing under the EDA grant that an applicant can work in support of?

A: Yes, applicants are welcome to include initiatives that incorporate, build upon and otherwise complement the projects I LOVE NY will be working on through its EDA funding, which are:

1. Engaging the travel trade – A marketing effort to promote New York State in the MICE, amateur sporting event and group travel segments with tactics that might include:

  • A strong, unified state presence at key business and events-based travel trade shows.
  • A dedicated web presence and other promotional materials for meeting planners, tour operators, tournament organizers and others considering New York State for business and consumer events.
  • Advertising and PR in relevant trade publications and outlets.
  • Serving as a resource to meeting planners, tour operators, tournament organizers, event producers and others involved with booking trade, consumer and sporting events.

2. Promoting international tourism – Sample tactics may include:

  • Paid consumer advertising in key international feeder markets (e.g. UK, Germany, Australia and Canada).
  • Paid marketing and partnership opportunities with companies like airlines and tour operators to promote New York State with international travelers.
  • Familiarization tours for international travel professionals, media and journalists.

3. Promoting Outdoor Recreation Destinations and Activities – Sample tactics may include:

  • A targeted marketing strategy to promote New York State as a premier destination for outdoor recreation destination, including a strong state presence at key trade and consumer outdoor and adventure travel shows.
  • Education and outreach to encourage sustainable use by inspiring a shared sense of responsibility and ownership of state lands. Utilizing channels like paid advertising, visitors and, in particular, audiences new to recreating in the outdoors are introduced to the principles of leave no trace, shown the importance of planning ahead and encouraged to show respect for one another while enjoying the outdoors.   
  • Increasing access to outdoor recreational spaces with equipment, training and programming to make outdoor recreation more accessible to underserved populations. 
  • Update and expand technology to improve the guest experience at state parks and historical sites.  

Q. If I am a qualified applicant, can I apply for a project that is not included under the three core areas of focus indicated?

A: Yes, however scoring is heavily weighted toward programs that align with the three core areas of focus. Projects are being scored based on the following criteria:

Overall Scoring Criteria (up to a total of 100 points):

  1. Area(s) of Focus Alignment/Project Relevance (up to 30 Points)
  2. Project Plan(s)/Approach, including capacity and budget (up to 40 Points)
  3. Project Impact/Metrics/ROI (up to 30 Points)

Q. Is this open to only official TPAs or are other DMO type entities able to apply for this?

A. This grant program is open to all DMOs (not just TPAs) as defined in the grant program guidelines: Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) is defined as a non-profit organization which promotes a location as an attractive travel destination that can include, but is not limited to: tourist boards, tourism authorities, tourism offices, tourism promotion agencies, and convention and visitors bureaus.

Q. Is the grant exclusive to marketing campaigns or can it be used for other purposes?

A.  As outlined in Attachment 1 of the grant program guidelines, eligible uses of State Tourism Grants include marketing as well as workforce training, short/long term economic development and technical assistance.

Q. When is the anticipated grant notification?

A. Anticipated grant notification is dependent upon ESD Board approval and is anticipated to be approximately in the middle of Q4 2022.

Q. Will marketing/advertising go through an approval processes and required co-branding with the I LOVE NY logo?

A. Yes, all marketing/advertising and promotion will be co-branded with the ILNY logo and submitted to Division of Tourism  grant program staff for review and approval. Advertising will also need to be included in required reporting as digital files. Since all spending is required to be reported to the Federal Government, it is likely that all budgets (marketing and non-marketing) will be need to be reviewed and approved, and all changes will require prior review and approval before any expenses are incurred.

Q. Will funding be provided as the term proceeds, or only on a reimbursement basis?

A. This grant program will begin with a 25% up front disbursement to assist with the initial startup costs of the awarded project or program.  There will then be three subsequent payments, which will be disbursed in 25% increments as needed but not more than once per quarter, upon approval of eligible project costs.  Grantees may request their next 25% allotment once they can show that the have spent at least 75% of the previous allotment on eligible expenses, and 100% of any allotments prior to the last.  While this is not a reimbursement program, the grantee will need to prove eligibility of prior eligible expenditures, demonstrated by documentation including invoices and proof of payment, before ESD provides subsequent disbursements.

Q. Are construction (capital) projects eligible?

A. Per the program guidelines, grant funds under this program cannot be used for any capital projects or capital costs.

Q. Which is ESD’s preferred application set-up: A DMO creates one “project” application that includes components in each of the categories of Trade, International, and Outdoors that totals more than $250,000, or a DMO creates multiple “project” applications so, for example, each of Trade, International and Outdoors is a separate application and each must be greater than $250,000?

A. As this is a competitive awards program, we are not able to provide recommendations on how applicants should apply. When deciding on which markets to include in their proposal(s) (international, outdoor recreation and/or travel trade), applicants can choose to apply for each market separately, or together in one proposal.  Each proposal must be for at least $250,000.00, and  each proposal will be scored separately and in competition with all submitted proposals (i.e. organizations with multiple applications will be competing against themselves).

Q. Are joint proposals allowed between partnering DMOs, and/or are proposals from one DMO allowed to cover more than one county or region?

A. Proposals can cover multiple counties or regions and/or done in partnership with multiple DMOs. Each proposal will require a single applying organization and a single point of contact, regardless of how many counties or regions are represented. Each proposal will be scored separately, in competition with all other proposals (i.e. organizations with multiple applications will be competing against themselves.)

Q. Are expenses incurred by entities other than the grantee in support of the project considered eligible costs?

A. In order for expenses to be eligible, they must be demonstrated as having been spent by the awarded grantee directly. Expenses paid out by partners or other organizations are not eligible. Expenses incurred by a vendor under contract with the grantee and paid out by the grantee to the vendor are eligible expenses.

Q. Can content creation costs be eligible for this award, for things like creating videos, website creation, photography, etc.? What about marketing consultants? Travel data software? Funding for events, like a concert?

A. A list of Eligible Use of Grant Funds is included in the Program Guidelines. Marketing costs in generally are likely eligible. Travel data software would be need further review (as part of the application process) as it may be considered an overhead cost.

Q. Can an applicant target multiple market segments from the three included in this program (international, outdoor recreation and travel trade), or does the applicant have to pick just one?

A. The program guidelines do not require a proposal to focus on any one segment, nor does it require multiple segments to be addressed. The grant is limited to projects focused on international tourism, outdoor recreation and/or the travel trade, as outlined in the guidelines.

Q. Can the grants be used toward projects that already receive funding from I LOVE NY, such as Market NY or Tourism Matching Grants? 

A. If your organization receives funds through that Tourism Matching Funds grant program and/or the Market New York grant program and if there are marketing elements/promotions/events from you proposal that are being supported financially through either of those programs, those elements would not be eligible for financial support under the NYS EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards.