Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program

Next Section Continue

Overview

The New York State Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program (the “Program”) was created to incentivize employment growth by providing financial assistance to businesses in the tourism industry that suffered economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next Section Continue

Grant Details

A total of $100 million in funding has been allocated to award Grantees for increasing their average employment between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, as compared to a baseline employment period between October 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. For seasonal businesses, an alternative baseline average employment period will be established for January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021.

Grants will provide $5,000 for each net new full-time equivalent job added, and $2,500 for each net new part-time equivalent job added, with a minimum grant award of $10,000 (or the average of two net new full-time equivalent jobs added from January-June 2022).

Next Section Continue

Eligibility

Grants will be limited to:

  • For-profit or non-profit businesses, open to and/or servicing the public, engaged in a tourism-related field including, accommodations, arts, entertainment, scenic and sightseeing transportation, tour operators, convention and visitor groups, or other businesses that, in ESD’s sole discretion, qualify as businesses in the tourism industry (View a full list of descriptions and NAICS codes).

Further, to qualify for grant assistance, all Eligible Applicants must:

  • Increase their average employment between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022 by at least 2 net new full-time equivalent jobs;
  • Continue to be in operation as of the date of application;
  • Have experienced economic harm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by a year-to-year decrease of at least 15% of gross receipts (or total revenue for nonprofits), or a year-to-year decrease of at least 15% of gross wages (or salaries for nonprofits) between 2019 and 2020 (Applicants must demonstrate a year-to-year loss of at least 15%; however Applicants with 25% or greater loss will receive priority);
  • Be in substantial compliance AND attest to being in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, codes and requirements;
  • Not owe past due federal, state or local taxes, unless making payments pursuant to and complying with an approved binding agreement with the appropriate taxing authority;
  • If a non-profit business (e.g., cultural institutions), be prequalified in Grants Gateway prior to the disbursement of any grant funds;
  • Not be currently participating in the NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit program OR the Empire State Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program;
  • Not be more than 5% owned, directly or indirectly, by a publicly traded company; and
  • Be open to and/or service the public.
Next Section Continue

Application Prep

To help you prepare, please review the information that will be needed to complete a preliminary application:

  • Proof of at least 15% Gross Receipts (or Total Revenue for nonprofits) loss or 15% Gross Wages (or Salaries for nonprofits) loss: 2019 and 2020 Business Income Tax returns (Applicants must demonstrate a year-to-year loss of at least 15%; however Applicants with 25% or greater loss will receive priority):
  • Completed IRS Form 4506-T
  • Proof of business location and current operation: Two of the following documents:
    • Current lease; or
    • Deed; or
    • Utility bill; or
    • Current business bank statement; or
    • Current business mortgage statement; or
    • Business credit card statement; or
    • Professional insurance bill; or
    • Payment processing statement;
    • NYS ST-809 or ST-100 sales tax collection documentation.
  • Actual employment data (full-time, part-time hours) along with NYS 45 forms from Q4 2021 (for verification) to establish baseline employment
    • For seasonal businesses, submit NYS 45 forms from Q1-Q2 2021 (for verification) to establish baseline employment
  • Seasonal businesses must submit its most recent Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return – include IRS Form 941
  • For funds distribution: W-9 and bank account information
Next Section Continue

Resources and FAQ

Next Section Continue

How to Apply

Applications will follow a three-step process.

  1. Fill out a required eligibility screening tool to determine if your business qualifies for the program.
  2. If your business qualifies you will receive an email from [email protected] with a link to the complete application.
  3. You will need to fill out and submit the completed application.

A final application deadline will be established following the January 1 to June 30, 2022 employment growth period, after which ESD will determine award amounts and disburse grant funding.

To receive email program updates, sign up here.