The Evers administration has allocated more than $140 million in grants to Wisconsin’s tourism and entertainment businesses. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Tourism has been one of the hardest hit industries in Wisconsin during the pandemic. However, outdoor and agri-tourism have seen growth due to the ease of social distancing during COVID-19. Sheila Everhart, the interim executive director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association says interest in agri-tourism is up 30 percent over the last five years.
Everhart encourages agri-tourism businesses to take advantage of these new grant dollars to help get rural economies back on track. The money is for live event venues, movie theaters, summer camps, minor league sports and the lodging industry. Money will also go to tourism marketing and reopening Wisconsin historical sites.
The investments include:
- $75 million for lodging grants;
- $11.25 million for movie theaters;
- $12 million for live event small businesses;
- $2.8 million for minor league sports teams;
- $10 million for live venues;
- $15 million for destination marketing organizations;
- $8 million for summer camps;
- $1 million for the Wisconsin Historical Society to assist in reopening historical sites; and
- $7.5 million to increase marketing support for Wisconsin’s tourism industry.
The Departments of Administration and Revenue will distribute the money. DOA spokeswoman Tatyana Warrick says the application will open in the coming weeks.
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