State of Washington Tourism awards $125,000 in grant funding to nine recipients
SEATTLE (Nov. 7, 2023) —Nine of the 11 state tourism regions were represented in the latest round of grant awards for tourism sustainability by State of Washington Tourism (SWT). A review committee of industry experts evaluated 65 applications and awarded $125,000 in total funding to nine recipients across the state. Grant recipients will utilize these funds to help support a wide range of tourism development projects, including new festivals and events, trailhead and accessibility enhancements, signage upgrades, and strategic planning.
In the Columbia River Gorge, SWT will support a grant project aimed at trailhead enhancements and visitor education. Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance (CGTA) will combine $30,000 in grant funding from SWT with thousands of dollars in additional resources to improve and promote accessibility information, audio interpretations, trail safety messaging, and slow hiking experiences.
“This project will be a game changer for outdoor recreation in the Columbia River Gorge,” said Emily Reed, network director of CGTA. “It will allow people with disabilities to plan ahead, plus all audio content will be in English and Spanish. There will be accommodations for the deaf community.”
SWT grant funding will also go toward Twisptober, a new festival coming to the Methow Valley in 2024. SWT awarded the Twisp Chamber of Commerce a $15,000 grant for event management and promotion. This three-day harvest festival will take place in Twisp during the shoulder season and feature dancing, local food, art, music, and more.
“With help from SWT, the Twisp Chamber and community partners welcome visitors to celebrate the mix of culture and heritage in the Methow Valley,” said Nicky Krost, vice president of the Twisp Chamber of Commerce. “This event will help boost economic vitality to the lower valley and address fluctuations in seasonality.”
In Bellingham, the nonprofit Community Boating Center will receive $10,000 in grant funding for its new capital campaign to erect “The Wheelhouse,” a facility that will serve as a heated year-round gathering space for classes, events, and community building. The Wheelhouse will be outfitted with solar panels and be ADA-accessible.
The Tourism Sustainability Grant Program is designed to foster safer, more inclusive, and sustainable visitor experiences across the State of Washington. Applicants may request up to $30,000 in grant funds based on project eligibility, which may include but is not limited to new festivals and events, tourism infrastructure, outdoor recreation, business and creative districts, and main street associations.
Grant funds must be expended by Aug. 1, 2024, and grantees are expected to submit an evaluation of their grant projects to SWT by Oct. 1, 2024.
This grant program is highly competitive and requires Washington-based tourism stakeholders to complete an application with details on project objectives, longevity, and budget.
About State of Washington Tourism
State of Washington Tourism (the recently rebranded Washington Tourism Alliance) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements the strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit the destination website at www.stateofWAtourism.com or the tourism industry site at www.industry.stateofWAtourism.com.
Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism