$10M in grants for Ill. tourism attractions, festivals

$10M in grants for Ill. tourism attractions, festivals


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) – Gov. Pritzker announced a $10 million grant program designed to help the tourism industry by bringing back new and returning tourism attractions and festivals to Illinois.

The Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant program is made possible with support of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is part of a broader effort underway by the Pritzker administration to help reinvigorate tourism in Illinois and to put the industry on a path to economic recovery from COVID-19.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) issued, tourism, festival businesses and entities can submit for grants of up to $1 million that may be used to establish and enhance tourism attractions or festivals planned for this year or next. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted with awards made quarterly and the department will have the ability to fund applications most closely aligned to eligibility criteria approved for immediate funding.

To view the NOFO, visit here.

The Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program intends to develop new or enhance existing tourism attractions located across the state – including but not limited to museums, businesses, events, performances, and festivals. DCEO will utilize ARPA federal recovery dollars to provide grants ranging from $10,000 to $1 million and will require a local match. The goal of the program is to attract additional visitors and overnight stays that will bring foot traffic back in communities across Illinois.

Eligible applicants include units of local government, municipalities, county, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations or local promotions groups. The funds may be used for capital projects, equipment, training, transportation, housing, receptions, entertainment, photography, temporary housing, and interpretive programs, like exhibits and installations – to further develop new attractions and events to attract visitors to Illinois. 

Proposed attractions and festivals must demonstrate how this award will help businesses in the surrounding area and will be evaluated based on marketing value and ability to attract visitors for overnight stays. Projects will score higher based on proximity to commercial corridors and services – including hotels/motels, restaurants, retail, and other commercial operations. Attractions include but are not limited to: museums and cultural centers; theme/amusement parks; outdoor activities and recreation sites; and other facilities or businesses that attract or serve visitors.

More information can be found at the State’s official tourism website. A technical assistance webinar will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 1 to 2 p.m. to explain application requirements, program eligibility and program guidelines. To sign up for the webinar, visit this link.

You can find more information here.

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