Administration also opens new capital grant program to expand, renovate tourism destinations and attractions
BOSTON—Tuesday, April 20, 2021—Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall announced $1,587,791 in awards to 59 tourism organizations, chambers of commerce, and municipalities as part of the newly created Travel and Tourism Recovery (TTR) Grant Pilot Program. The announcement was made virtually and included recipients of the awards.
Funds from the TTR Grant Pilot Program are dedicated to marketing projects that support the My Local MA campaign, enhance tourism recovery, and have the potential to increase non-resident visitation. The program’s goal is to strengthen the Massachusetts economy through the development and enhancement of the state’s tourism industry. Examples of projects aligned with the program’s goals include Old Sturbridge Village’s “Come and Stay” campaign; the towns of Concord and Lexington’s joint promotion of “Two Historic Towns; One Memorable Trip,” and the East of the River Chamber of Commerce for website development, video, signage and increasing access for diverse populations and people with disabilities.
“The tourism and hospitality industry is vital to the economic well-being of Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration recognizes the challenges this industry has faced during the pandemic, and these grants will support the Commonwealth’s recovery by allowing grant recipients to market to their local strengths.”
“Our administration is committed to leveraging the resources and tools available to assist the tourism and hospitality industry recover,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We are grateful to our tourism councils, municipal colleagues, and regional and local chambers of commerce for their continued partnership, as we tackle this challenge together.”
Lt. Governor Polito also announced the opening of the Destination Development Capital (DDC) Grant Program. This $2 million competitive grant program will award funds to strengthen the economy through development projects that will expand, construct, restore, or renovate Massachusetts tourism destinations and attractions, and aid in destination recovery and resiliency. This program was created in the economic development bill signed by Governor Baker in January.
“Massachusetts continues to make critical investments that support our small businesses, visitor destinations, downtown districts, and rural areas,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Kennealy. “These investments are critical to helping our tourism and hospitality industry rebound from the impacts caused by this public health crisis, and will allow our communities to recover as we approach the summer tourism season.”
“This new TTR funding is a perfect complement to the Commonwealth’s ‘My Local MA’ campaign, which focuses on supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic,” said MOTT Executive Director Matsudo Orrall. “With these grants, tourism groups and local municipalities can market their assets directly to prospective vacationers, targeting tourists in the New England region and the Mid-Atlantic states drive market.”
“The funding being announced today is a critical first step in the recovery of the tourism, arts, and culture industries,” said Senator Ed Kennedy, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. “The marketing campaigns created with use of these funds will draw attention to the wide variety of attractions and experiences Massachusetts offers, bringing in new visitors from outside of the state and reminding those already here that there are hundreds of fun, cultural, and educational experiences right here in our own backyards.”
“The impacts of COVID-19 are far reaching. We have seen the numerous devastating effects on this industry that was first to close and likely last to reopen,” said Rep. Carole Fiola, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. “These grants are an important tool to support these organizations in beginning their recovery and help the Commonwealth build back travel and tourism stronger than it was before. I look forward to working with the industry to continue with this critical recovery.”
“Old Sturbridge Village is extremely grateful for the hard work done by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and the generous support through the Travel and Tourism Recovery Grant,” said Jim Donahue, President and CEO of Old Sturbridge Village. “We look forward to stimulating travel to Massachusetts through our ‘Come and Stay’ campaign and encouraging visitors of the Village to help local businesses recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The Town of Concord is so grateful for this generous grant award and looks forward to working with MOTT and our partners in the Town of Lexington on this historic campaign,” said Concord Town Manager Stephen Crane. “The economic impact of the pandemic has reinforced the need to work together in both traditional and non-traditional ways so our communities can come back stronger than ever.”
“The East of the River Five Town Chamber (ERC5) is grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism for the grant funds which will allow our organization, and by extension the communities we represent, to enrich our outreach to both underserved businesses and tourists exploring our five town region,” said Nancy L. Connor, ERC5 Executive Director.
Funded through the Tourism Trust Fund, the TTR Grant Program was open to any public, nonprofit agency, 501(c)3, or 501(c)6 that has been in operation in Massachusetts for at least two consecutive years since January 2019, and is in good standing with taxes and licenses/registrations in the Commonwealth.
The TTR and DDC programs are in alignment with the Baker-Polito Administration’s Partnerships for Recovery Plan to help stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns, and ensuring housing stability. Through Partnerships for Recovery, the Administration has awarded more than $660 million to small businesses, and has opened new grant programs to revitalize downtowns, create winter community spaces, support cultural institutions and foundations, and fund regional economic development organizations.
About Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT)
MOTT’s mission is to promote Massachusetts as a leisure and business travel destination for domestic and international markets and to contribute to the growth of the Commonwealth’s economy. For information about visiting Massachusetts, go to VisitMA.com.
About My Local MA
My Local MA is a marketing initiative to encourage residents of the Commonwealth to support their local economies by shopping at Massachusetts businesses and attractions. Launched in August 2020, the campaign was developed as a response to the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses and communities. The marketing outreach includes print, broadcast, billboard and digital ads, along with social media. The website LoveMyLocalMA.com features resources for businesses and consumers on how to get involved.