Gov. Larry Hogan announced that $9.6 million has been awarded to the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism to support tourism marketing, promotion and development throughout the state. The funding is through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $750 million American Rescue Plan: Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program.
The program specifically provides $510 million in state tourism grants to advance the economic recovery and resiliency of communities where the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the $9.6 million in funding, $2.8 million will be used to award the 25 officially recognized Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) so they can invest in inviting residents and visitors back to restaurants, entertainment venues, wineries, breweries, attractions, shops, and services in communities across the state.
The award calls for $1.9 million to be awarded to state and local government agencies, economic development organizations and other industry partners to further develop tourism opportunities across Maryland. Specifically, this is focused on opportunities where the industry benefits from visitor spending, including events designed to encourage overnight travel and events surrounding hospitality training and workforce development.
Because Maryland’s natural resources and outdoor recreation are vital to residents and citizens alike, these entities will be awarded $2 million to create access to outdoor recreational activities and provide educational resources about recreating responsibly.
The remaining $2.9 million will be used by the Office of Tourism to support its 18 Scenic Byways marketing promotion to drive visitors to Maryland’s towns, attractions, and accommodations along these routes.
Parties interested in applying for this new round of EDA funding can find the application and more information at https://industry.visitmaryland.org/opportunities/eda-grant-information.