Visit Eau Claire Gets $500K to Help Local Tourism Economy Recover

state distributes COVID-19 grants to tourism groups

V1 Staff |

Rockin' on the fold-out stage of Visit Eau Claire's Eau Claire-Stream trailer during pre-COVID times.
Rockin' on the fold-out stage of Visit Eau Claire's Eau Claire-Stream trailer during pre-COVID times.

Visit Eau Claire, the Chippewa Valley’s tourism marketing organization, has received a half-million dollar grant from the state to help the region’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism announced this week that nearly $12 million in Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) Stimulus Grants had been issued to 158 different organizations statewide. The $500,000 for Visit Eau Claire is among the largest grants awarded; tourism agencies in Wisconsin Dells, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Madison also received half-million dollar grants, while the average grant size was $75,000.

According to a press release, “The TRAVEL grant program was designed to help Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and tourism development organizations resume business operations and restore economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The effort is funded through the state’s discretionary federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars.”

In 2019, the tourism industry generated $22.2 billion in economic activity statewide, including $1.6 million in state of local tax revenue, the Department of tourism says. In Eau Claire County alone, visitors spent $259 million in 2019 and supported more than 4,600 full-time and part-time jobs, the department said.

The press release continued:

“While there is no way for us to replace all that was lost, these grants are not only an acknowledgment of just how important tourism is to our state’s economy, but also a critical first step in a long journey that we will take together to rebuild,” said Secretary-designee, Sara Meaney. “I am grateful to Gov. Evers for his commitment to Wisconsin’s tourism economy.”

The funds will provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19 and support marketing to promote a safe and healthy experience for travelers and resident consumers amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Thank you to Gov. Evers and our federal decision makers for allocating these CARES Act dollars to support the tourism industry,” said Benny Anderson, Visit Eau Claire’s interim executive director. “These much-needed funds are a critical step in our recovery.”

Learn more about Visit Eau Claire at