As part of House Bill 1023 (Coronavirus Relief Fund/Additions & Revisions), the NC General Assembly created a $1.5 million appropriation to help eligible DMOs experiencing reduced ability to market their destinations due to revenue loss. These NC Tourism Promotion Grants are designed to provide relief to areas of the state most dependent on travel and tourism to assist with tourism promotion. The EDPNC was tasked with disbursing these funds in consultation with the North Carolina Travel Industry Association (NCTIA).
Tourism Promotion Grants will be open to official DMOs as recognized by Visit NC. Regional tourism associations and North Carolina tourism associations are not eligible for the grants.
Eligibility will be 'needs based.' In order to qualify, DMOs will have to show losses in their promotional budgets for 2020 versus 2019.
DMOs from counties that are the most tourism-dependent will be eligible for $30,000 grants, whereas DMOs from counties that are in less tourism-dependent areas will be eligible for $25,000 grants. Tourism dependence is determined by the ratio of the county's tax revenue from visitors compared to overall tax revenue. The list of counties and their rankings can be found here.
The EDPNC Tourism Recovery Committee may adjust the grant sizes based on the number and scale of eligible applications received.
Qualifying uses are only for promotion (advertising and marketing) efforts to promote North Carolina tourism as the state continues to reopen. Funding uses also must conform to these CARES Act guidelines, in that they:
- Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19);
- Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020, (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and
- Were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.
The EDPNC Tourism Recovery Committee will decide which applicants qualify for the grants.
Qualifying applicants will become sub-recipients of the EDPNC. They will enter an agreement with the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office (NCPRO), under the auspices of Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), and the recipient. Successful applicants will report monthly on how they spend the Coronavirus Relief Funds and show how the funds are being used to meet the entity's goals and deliverables related to recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Grant applications will be reviewed by the NCTIA for merit and adherence to CARES Act guidelines. The EDPNC Tourism Recovery Committee will make final approvals on all grants.