By Terri Jo Neff |
Dozens of organizations, government agencies, and private businesses across Arizona will benefit from more than $9.4 million in competitive grant funds awarded last week by the Arizona Office of Tourism.
The Oct. 5 announcement of the Visit Arizona Initiative Partnership grants is part of an effort to increase visitation and tourism spending in Arizona, bolster job creation, and accelerate economic recovery.
“With tourism being the hardest hit industry and still working to recover, we were really focused during this initial round on getting funds to communities that needed it most,” said Debbie Johnson, Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “We worked diligently through this process to provide support statewide and I’m proud to say we achieved that goal.”
The Office of Tourism reports that almost 200,000 Arizonans were employed in the tourism industry prior to COVID-19. Tourism also contributed over $3.5 billion in tax revenue to federal, state, and local economies before the pandemic.
But Arizona’s 2020 overnight visitation decreased by 31 percent and visitor spending decreased by 41 percent compared to 2019 numbers, according to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office when he announced $101.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds would be used to launch Visit Arizona Initiative in July.
“These grant awardees, which were selected through the Arizona Office of Tourism’s competitive process, will attract more tourism to Arizona and lead to more jobs and spending in communities throughout our state,” Ducey said last week when the funding was announced.
Those receiving grants are:
Phoenix Central Region ($3,713,558)
Arizona Basketball Coaches Association
Arizona Jewish Historical Society
Desert Botanical Gardens/Taliesin West
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau
Heritage Square Foundation
International Jazz Day AZ Foundation
Musical Instrument Museum
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Phoenix Art Museum
Scottsdale Fashion Square
Superior Chamber of Commerce
The Phoenix Theater Company
Town of Fountain Hills
Tucson & Southern Region ($4,670,830)
Arizona Media Arts Center
City of Sierra Vista
Graham County Chamber of Commerce
North Center Productions, Inc.
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, Inc.
Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
Tubac Chamber of Commerce
Tucson Bicycle Classic
University of Arizona Cycling Team
Willcox Theater and Arts, Inc.
Northern Region ($452,698)
Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition
Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra
Grand Canyon Music Festival
Museum of Northern Arizona
Peak Events, LLC
North Central Region ($364,609)
Mountain Bike America, LLC
Prescott Chamber of Commerce
Sedona Arts Center
Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, LLC
West Coast Region ($235,226)
City of Kingman
Go Lake Havasu
Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce and Tourism
Yuma History Museum
In addition, the Phoenix-based event company Cloth & Flame was awarded funding under all the regions.