Published on : Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Iowa has decided to use a $5.27 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote tourism to the state and improve technology at four state-owned rest stops. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced Monday that the department has awarded $314 million in a first round of state grants.
The money is meant to assist the tourism industry as it recovers from severely decreased travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. She mentioned that the State Tourism grants give states and territories the flexible opportunity to boost their local tourism industry and ensure that jobs are restored and tourists return safely.
A spokesperson for the Iowa Economic Development Authority said Iowa’s $5.3 million grant will go toward tourism marketing and improving technology at Iowa’s four “welcome centers” in Davis City, Underwood, Wilton and Sergeant Bluff. IEDA Spokesperson Jessica O’Riley added that the funds will help increase visitation to Iowa destinations to pre-2020 levels.
O’Riley said IEDA plans to keep promoting outdoor destinations that remained popular through the pandemic. She pointed toward the Iowa State Park Passport program, which encourages Iowans and visitors to explore the park system.
The first round of grant funding comes as the U.S. lifts international travel restrictions for people vaccinated against COVID-19. A news release from the federal Economic Development Administration called the removal of travel restrictions and the grant program “critical steps in the recovery of the travel and tourism sector from the coronavirus pandemic.”