PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded a $10.6 million tourism grant to the McKee Administration.
The grant will be used to support projects, businesses, and jobs in travel and tourism, with a focus on outdoor reservation centers.
“We are so glad to share the good news that Rhode Island will be getting more than $10 million to help our tourism and hospitality industries, and all of our small businesses in those areas,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic, and these funds will go a long way in ensuring this sector not only bounces back but is even stronger going forward. Visitors from around the world love visiting our state, and it’s part of who we are. This investment will help ensure the Ocean State continues to be a viable and attractive destination for years to come. We thank Secretary Raimondo and the Biden Administration for these resources and for recognizing the importance of this funding to our state.”
“Tourism is a foundational part of Rhode Island’s economy,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “This industry not only supports thousands of jobs, it also attracts more than $7 billion in spending annually. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many elements of this important industry, but this grant will help the state recover and become even more resilient as we continue to emerge post-pandemic.”
Parts of the proposal include more advertising for airports and tourist regions, tech upgrades, and new events and attractions.
Tourism makes up 13.7% of the states total private sector employment in Rhode Island.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, leisure hospitality jobs in the state fell 61.5 percent between February and April of 2020, making it one of the hardest-hit sectors of the state economy.
This is one of the many ways federal assistance is trying to help small businesses recover, with varying types of relief like earlier closing times, grants, and much more.