(Columbus) Several local agencies are among 158 receiving tourism relief grants from the state. The city of Columbus Tourism Commission is receiving $5000 while the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is getting nearly $6400. The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce was approved for $7700 while the Watertown Chamber of Commerce is slated to see $23-thousand dollars.
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism doled out a total of $11.8-million dollars as part of their Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) stimulus grant program, also known as TRAVEL grants. While the grants were initially announced to total $8 million using federal CARES Act funds, the state increased the funding by $4 million. The TRAVEL grant program was designed to help Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and tourism development organizations resume business operations and restore economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney says “accelerating the return of economic vitality for communities around the state is of critical importance and this grant will play a major role in helping not just the tourism economy, but all of Wisconsin’s economy.” Tourism in Wisconsin’s economy and the industry saw its biggest year on record in 2019. Over 113.2 million visits statewide generated an estimated $22.2 billion, including $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue. The tourism industry supports 202,217 full and part-time jobs in Wisconsin. Last year, the state achieved a return on investment of $95 in consumer spending for every one dollar of promotional spend.