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Governor Hochul Announces Launch of Applications for $125 Million Relief Programs Supporting State's Tourism Industry


$100 Million Tourism Return-to-Work Program to Encourage Job Growth

$25 Million Meet in New York Grant Program Supports Return of Large Events

Part of Governor's $450 Million "Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs" Inclusive Recovery Package

- Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of applications for two tourism grant programs designed to support and revitalize New York State's tourism and hospitality industry. The $100 million Tourism Return-to-Work grant program and the $25 million Meet in New York grant program were first announced in November as part of the governor's nation-leading "Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs" initiative. Both programs will now be making full applications available to tourism businesses, convention and conference centers, and licensed overnight lodging facilities that have qualified for the program.

"The pandemic challenged the entire New York State business community, but its effects were especially damaging to our tourism and hospitality professionals," Governor Hochul said. "These programs are targeted to get help businesses rehire workers and bring new, world-class conventions and events to our communities - sparking the statewide economic engine that is tourism. New York is the most exciting, most vibrant, and most engaging place on the planet, and we need to do all we can to invite and welcome visitors from around the world."

New York State's tourism and hospitality industry and workforce were severely impacted by devastating effects of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the industry supported one in ten jobs throughout the state. Recognizing the importance of getting New York's tourism employees back to work, Governor Hochul unveiled the $100 million Tourism Return-to-Work grant program to support the rehiring of workers by providing grants to tourism industry businesses that suffered pandemic-related economic hardship. Additionally, the $25 million Meet in New York grant program was created to catalyze the return of events, meetings and trade shows that generate business travel, by covering a portion of event-based costs at conference spaces and partnering hotels.

Through the Tourism Return-to-Work grant program, qualified businesses can receive grants of $5,000 for each net new full-time equivalent job added, and $2,500 for each net new part-time equivalent job added between January and June 2022. Grantees must achieve a net employment increase of at least two full-time equivalents to qualify for funding; grants will be awarded for a minimum of $10,000, and a maximum of $200,000. Applicants must complete the required eligibility screening available here, and pre-qualified applicants will be sent a link to apply directly. More information, including program guidelines, can be found here.

To encourage the return of business travel and attract new events, the $25 million Meet in New York grant program will provide grants to conference venues and licensed overnight lodging facilities to offset a portion of discounts provided on approved meeting space rental fees and group room rates that help attract qualifying events. Grants will be provided on a reimbursement basis, and depend on factors including event size, fees waived, and discounts offered. The program is limited to new events that were not previously scheduled. Applicants must complete the required eligibility screening available here, and pre-qualified applicants will be sent a link to apply directly. Applications are due by December 31, 2022. More information, including program guidelines, can be found here.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "The economic importance of tourism cannot be overstated: it supports jobs and small businesses, and generates revenue for communities across New York State. Governor Hochul has been committed to rebuilding this vital and vibrant industry, and the grants awarded through these programs will introduce new audiences to New York State through new events, and get New Yorkers back to work in the tourism sector."

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "Governor Hochul's 'Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs' programs will support the recovery of New York State's tourism industry by getting workers back on the job and fostering the return of large events like meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Together with our tourism partners - from regional and local destination marketing organizations to venues and attractions across the state - we can bring tourism back and remind businesses and visitors alike that there's no place like New York."

These programs complement the ongoing efforts of I LOVE NY, Empire State Development's Division of Tourism, to promote tourism and revitalize the state's tourism industry. This includes efforts to engage and invite new domestic and international visitors to explore the state. In February, Governor Hochul announced the launch of New York's first global consumer-facing tourism advertising in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Additionally, I LOVE NY partnered with international tour operators to create and promote New York State and New York City travel packages.

State Senator José M. Serrano said, "Tourism, and the visitors who come from around the world, help to make New York such a unique destination. Governor Hochul's programs will help the tourism workforce, support the businesses in the tourism ecosystem, and bring more visitors and special events back to our cities. I thank the governor for her commitment to the state's tourism industry and the businesses and people that make it a thriving industry for New York."

Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell said, "The New York State economy depends on a vibrant tourism industry. In every region of our state, visitors come to experience the incredible arts, culture, outdoors, and character of New York and when they do, they support local restaurants, venues, stores, hotels, performances, and more. The pandemic created countless challenges for the tourism industry, and I've heard first hand from people who are still struggling to get back on their feet. It is essential that we support the strong return of tourism in our State, and all the individuals it supports. I thank Gov. Hochul for recognizing the vital role that tourism plays in making our state thrive, and for her commitment to helping the sector rebound and be bigger and better than ever."

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