Partnership with Department of Commerce spans 2 years

Olympia, Wash. (December 4, 2023) — The Washington State Department of Commerce named State of Washington Tourism (SWT) to administer $3.5 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) block grant funds to assist in tourism industry pandemic recovery after a competitive RFP process. 

The destination planning and development grants will be dispersed through a competitive, needs-based grant program intended for Washington’s local, city, county and tribal governments, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and other nonprofit organizations involved with travel and tourism. The program will offer new grants to support research and data, marketing production, arts and culture, incentivize sporting events, as well as technical assistance with other forms and aspects of travel and tourism. Also included are grants for a Rural Tourism Support program and marketing production for Indigenous communities. 

 “Many communities continue to recover from the pandemic, especially those who are heavily dependent on tourism for their economic health,” said Robb Zerr, Senior Managing Director of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. “This grant program will provide the funds needed to build capacity, increase resiliency, preserve history, create new attractions and make projects shovel ready in communities across the state.”

SWT was selected based on a commitment to state tourism industry recovery, development, and management, demonstrated by its Rural Tourism Support program, previous technical assistance and sustainable tourism grant program, year-around industry education and previous grant administration contracts with the Department of Commerce to disperse grants to state DMOs, and agritourism businesses.  

“Our state tourism industry was hard hit by the pandemic and is still struggling to recover fully,” said David Blandford, SWT CEO. “This grant program will deliver critical resources that bolster destination development, strengthen economic recovery and regional resilience, support small businesses, rural and underserved communities and tribal organizations.”  

SWT will be responsible for grant promotion and education, tracking and reporting grant awards to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in tourism projects. It will launch an outreach plan to promote the destination planning and development grants that will include webinars, emails and in-person presentations. Interested parties and potential applicants can receive updates through SWT’s industry newsletter.


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 or the tourism industry site at


Taylor Zeitlin
Public Relations, Green Rubino for State of Washington Tourism
P: 916-217-8337

Althea Conyers Achem
Public Relations, Green Rubino for State of Washington Tourism
P: 620-245-7692