Grants Tourism

Chippewa Valley Groups Get Nearly $1M to Boost Tourism

grants come as tourism figures in state begin post-pandemic uptick

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(Photo by Commonweal Development)
DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE THIS FOR YOURSELF? Nearly $1 million in state grants will be used to help Wisconsin's tourism bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging folks to travel.  (Photo by Commonweal Development)

Tourism-promoting organizations in the Chippewa Valley received nearly $1 million in the latest round of state grants to help the state’s tourism industry bounce back from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Gov. Tony Evers announced Nov. 10 that $15 million in American Rescue Plan funds were being distributed to 120 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) statewide. Visit Eau Claire will receive $767,525, the fifth-largest grant in the state. Meanwhile, the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce will get $140,545 and the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce will receive $75,000.  

“Wisconsin’s tourism industry was one of the first and hardest hit industries of the COVID-19 pandemic, but our local folks at DMOs statewide have been innovative, dedicated, and resilient, and it’s because of them that this industry is bouncing back and better,” Evers said in a media release. “I am glad to be using these funds to support their good work, along with our more than $200 million investment in Wisconsin’s tourism industry. From the largest convention and visitor bureaus in Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells to the smallest chambers of commerce in Pepin and Cassville, the $15 million investment awarded today will help continue to fuel our local recovery efforts and ensure those rebounds are felt statewide.”  

The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan – which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March – and are administered by the state Department of Administration.   Earlier this month, tourism officials in Wisconsin were heartened to see that spending by travelers was on the upswing.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism spending in Wisconsin in September 2021 was actually 1% higher than it had been during the same month in 2019, which had been a record-setting year. By comparison, tourism spending nationwide was down 9% in September 2019 when compared with September 2021, while it dipped 20% in Minnesota over the same period.  

The state’s tourism industry brought in $13.7 billion in 2019, but that figure fell 22% statewide in 2020 amid the height of pandemic lockdowns.