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American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation – Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

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State Tourism Grants

  1. How can States apply for the State Tourism Grants?
  2. Does the Governor’s designation of an entity to receive the State’s travel and tourism grant require EDA approval?
  3. What is the deadline to apply for the EDA State Tourism Grant?
  4. What are the eligible uses of State Tourism Grants?
  5. Is there a match rate requirement for State Tourism Grants?
  6. The Notice of Funding Opportunity says that projects that support community/regional tourism marketing and promotion campaigns are allowable uses of State Tourism Grants, but that messaging “must be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines.” What does that mean?
  7. What are the expectations if a State chooses to make a subaward?

Competitive Tourism Grants

  1. Who is eligible for a competitive Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant?
  2. What types of projects are eligible for funding under the EDA Competitive Tourism Grant component?
  3. Is there a match rate requirement for EDA Competitive Tourism Grants?

General Questions

  1. What key differences should I be aware of when applying for an EDA grant under the American Rescue Plan funding compared to a typical EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance application?
  2. What does Equity mean in the context of the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation programs?
  3. My organization submitted a grant application but was not selected for funding under the CARES Act. Can we resubmit our application under the American Rescue Plan funding?
  4. How can I submit my application for EDA funding?
  5. What is the deadline to submit my application?
  6. Are projects to support zoos and aquariums eligible for funding under the Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Notice of Funding Opportunity?
  7. Do the activities proposed under the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO have to be aligned with a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)?
  8. How do I locate the applicable CEDS for my region? May we still apply if our region does not have a CEDS?
  9. The Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO says that projects that support upgrades or retrofits to existing travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation infrastructure must make such infrastructure more functional under pandemic social distancing conditions (e.g., consistent with CDC guidelines). What does that mean?
  10. What should I do if I have additional questions not answered in this FAQ?

State Tourism Grants

1. How can States apply for the State Tourism Grants?

EDA will send invitation letters to the Governor’s Office (or equivalent) of each State, the District of Columbia, and EDA-covered territories1, inviting them to apply for the grant funding. There is no other way to apply for State Tourism Grants.

Each State’s governor may designate a State agency or eligible entity to receive the grant. States are permitted to spend the awards or to subaward the funds on a competitive basis.

2. Does the Governor’s designation of an entity to receive the State’s travel and tourism grant require EDA approval?

EDA will review the Governor’s (or equivalent’s) designation of a recipient for the State’s travel and tourism grant only to confirm that the designated entity is eligible to receive EDA funding. As long as the designated entity is eligible, EDA will accept the selection.

Eligible applicants include:

  1. District Organizations of EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs)
  2. Indian Tribes, which include Federally-recognized Indian Tribes and any Alaska Native Village or Regional Corporation (as defined in or established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)2
  3. State and Local governments or political subdivisions, including special purpose units of State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, which may include regional water and sewer districts, airport commissions, and regional economic development commissions
  4. Institutions of higher education
  5. Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations working in cooperation with officials of a general purpose political subdivision of a State (e.g., a city, town, or county)

3. What is the deadline to apply for the EDA State Tourism Grant?

Applications must be received within 60 days of EDA’s letter to the Governor inviting the State to apply. Any State that requires an extension of the application deadline should contact the EDA Representative for that State identified at www.eda.gov/contact/.

4. What are the eligible uses of State Tourism Grants?

State tourism grants can be used for:

  • State, county, city, or community/regional tourism marketing and promotion campaigns, including through nonprofit Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO).
  • Workforce training that supports the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries and improves the skills and job opportunities for workers.
  • Short-term and long-term economic development planning and coordination to respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the regional travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industry.
  • Technical assistance projects to assist regional economies to recover from damage to the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries, including technical assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs to respond to changes to those industries brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Upgrades or retrofits to existing travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation infrastructure, such as convention centers, to increase travel/tourism activity or to make such infrastructure more functional under pandemic social distancing conditions (may include general accessibility upgrades, like disability access).
  • Infrastructure projects that lead to long-term increases in tourist activity in a region, including in communities adjacent to National Park Service units, State Parks, National Marine Sanctuaries, and other natural destinations, and nature-based infrastructure projects and projects enhancing public access to outdoor recreational opportunities.
  • Other uses to support the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries as approved by EDA.

All projects must support the travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation sectors and be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for safe travel. Please see section A.1.a of the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for additional details.

5. Is there a match rate requirement for State Tourism Grants?

All awards to States for State Tourism Grants will be made at a 100% grant rate; no matching funds are required.

6. The Notice of Funding Opportunity says that projects that support community/regional tourism marketing and promotion campaigns are allowable uses of State Tourism Grants, but that messaging “must be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines.” What does that mean?

Marketing materials funded in whole or in part through an EDA grant may not convey messages that are inconsistent with any CDC COVID-19 guidelines in effect at the time the materials are published. Examples of potentially relevant topics on which the CDC has previously issued guidelines include crowd size, interstate and international travel, and personal precautions, such as masking. It is the responsibility of recipients to monitor changing CDC guidelines and update their marketing and promotional materials as necessary. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

7. What are the expectations if a State chooses to make a subaward?

If a State chooses to make subawards, the State will be responsible for competing, awarding, and monitoring those subawards, including ensuring compliance with all federal requirements:

  • For non-construction subawards, EDA will confirm that the scope of work for the subaward is allowable.
  • For construction subawards, EDA will: (1) confirm that the scope of work for the subaward is allowable and (2) make determinations under federal environmental requirements, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). States will be responsible for collecting and providing the information necessary for EDA to complete required environmental reviews. In addition, projects will be subject to federal real property requirements, which means that the project must be owned by an eligible recipient and such recipient will be required to record a statement of EDA’s interest in real property acquired or improved under an award in the relevant real property records. Other requirements and reporting may be required. Note that all EDA-funded construction projects are subject to Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements.

Competitive Tourism Grants

1. Who is eligible for a competitive Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant?

Eligible applicants for competitive Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grants include:

  1. District Organizations of EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs)
  2. Indian Tribes, which include Federally-recognized Indian Tribes and any Alaska Native Village or Regional Corporation (as defined in or established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)3
  3. State and Local governments or political subdivisions, including special purpose units of State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, such as port authorities, airport commissions, and regional economic development commissions
  4. Institutions of higher education
  5. Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations working in cooperation with officials of a general purpose political subdivision of a State (e.g., a city, town, or county)

2. What types of projects are eligible for funding under the EDA Competitive Tourism Grant component?

Eligible projects include construction and non-construction projects that support the travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation sectors. For the most part, this component is intended to fund projects that are focused on new and expanded infrastructure, projects with a multi-State or national focus, and projects in regions most adversely affected by damage to the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors from the coronavirus pandemic. Projects that would support economic diversification in communities overly reliant on the travel and tourism industry are permitted, but projects that directly support the industry are preferred and will be prioritized.

State and local tourism promotion and marketing projects are not eligible under the competitive tourism grants component. However, country-wide or multi-state travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation promotion activities are eligible for funding. Section A.1.c of the NOFO for additional details.

3. Is there a match rate requirement for EDA Competitive Tourism Grants?

EDA expects to fund at least 80% of project costs through the Competitive Tourism Grants. EDA may increase the federal share up to 100% on a case-by-case basis depending on whether the circumstances of the proposed project warrant a federal share in excess of 80%, including whether the applicant has exhausted its effective taxing or borrowing capacity; the extent of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the region’s travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation; or whether the region meets other thresholds for elevated need based on the relative economic distress of the region. Projects providing higher levels of match may be more competitive.

General Questions

1. What key differences should I be aware of when applying for an EDA grant under the American Rescue Plan funding compared to a typical EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance application?

In question B.8 on the ED-900 form, applicants must outline the steps that they will take to ensure that economic benefits of the project will be shared by all communities in the project region, including any underserved communities.

For construction projects only, applicants must explain in question B.2 on the ED-900 form whether, and if so how, the project will incorporate strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefit agreements, that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions, and a description of the applicant’s workforce plans and practices.

2. What does Equity mean in the context of the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation programs?

Equity is defined in EDA’s Investment Priorities as projects or programs that that directly benefit:

  1. one or more traditionally underserved populations (PDF), including but not limited to women, Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders; or
  2. underserved communities within geographies that have been systemically and/or systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic prosperity such as Tribal Lands, Persistent Poverty Counties (XLSX), and rural areas with demonstrated, historical underservice.

For more information on these populations and geographies see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-advancing-racial-equity-and-support-for-underserved-communities-through-the-federal-government/.

3. My organization submitted a grant application but was not selected for funding under the CARES Act. Can we resubmit our application under the American Rescue Plan funding?

An applicant that submitted an application that was not funded under the CARES Act can resubmit with a letter to EDA requesting a review under the Competitive Tourism Grants portion of the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO. The letter must contain a certification that the project is unchanged and that all matching funds remain available. If there are any changes to the application, applicants must submit a new application.

Applicants should note that the evaluation criteria for this program are different than that under EDA’s CARES program and EDA will be using the new criteria. Applicants may choose to adjust their applications accordingly and submit the application again through www.grants.gov. See section E.1.a of the NOFO for additional information on this program’s evaluation criteria.

EDA will reconsider your application for funding under the new Investment Priorities; applicants may choose to adjust their applications accordingly and submit again through www.grants.gov. All applications for CARES Act funding were required to demonstrate that they were aligned with EDA’s “Recovery and Resilience” investment priority, and because “Recovery and Resilience” remains an investment priority, applicants should not be adversely affected by the change in investment priorities.

Please visit https://eda.gov/funding-opportunities/ for additional details on project eligibility requirements.

4. How can I submit my application for EDA funding?

All EDA NOFOs and application forms are posted at www.grants.gov, and can be accessed either by searching www.grants.gov for the funding opportunity you would like, or accessing the link directly through https://eda.gov/funding-opportunities/.

Before applying for EDA funding, an organization must take several steps to obtain credentials and register with several systems that may require 25 or more business days to complete. The technical requirements and systems associated with generating these credentials require confirmation at each step and the process can be lengthy—especially for organizations without an employer identification number (EIN) —and require interaction with multiple organizations outside of EDA.

EDA strongly encourages applicants in the process of forming or that have formed but are not yet registered on www.grants.gov, to do so as soon as possible.

5. What is the deadline to submit my application?

While EDA will accept applications on a rolling basis under the American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Notice of Funding Opportunity, the American Rescue Plan requires EDA to award funds by September 30, 2022. EDA plans to accept and award grant applications subject to the availability of funds.

EDA encourages eligible applicants to submit their applications as soon as possible, and strongly advises eligible applicants to submit complete applications no later than January 31, 2022 so that EDA can review and process the application in time to get a potential award in place prior to deadlines imposed by Congress. Submission by January 31, 2022 is not a guarantee of funding. Any award is subject to the availability of funds.

Please note that other American Rescue Plan programs do have application deadlines, which are set out in the Notice of Funding Opportunity specific to each program. Please visit https://eda.gov/funding-opportunities/ for details on each program’s deadline.

EDA strongly encourages applicants to submit applications early and not wait until the application deadline.

6. Are projects to support zoos and aquariums eligible for funding under the Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Notice of Funding Opportunity?

Yes. For the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO only, EDA has suspended its policy against funding projects related to zoos and aquariums.

7. Do the activities proposed under the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO have to be aligned with a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)?

Yes, each project funded under the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO must be consistent with the current Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) or equivalent EDA-accepted regional economic development strategy for the region or regions served by the proposed project.

A CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development, typically prepared by an EDA-designated Economic Development District (EDD) organization, to guide capacity building efforts that best serve economic development in the region. Documents for consideration as a CEDS equivalent can include various regional economic development plans (or a combination of plans), including but not limited to regional comprehensive plans, regional resilience plans, or recovery plans.

Each application for the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO should include in their application a discussion of how the project will support the economic development needs and objectives outlined in the appliable CEDS or equivalent strategy(ies). Applicants may also include letters of support from organizations that prepare CEDS or equivalent plans for areas that will be served by the proposed system and/or project.

8. How do I locate the applicable CEDS for my region? May we still apply if our region does not have a CEDS?

EDA supports the CEDS Resource Library where applicants can determine whether their region is served by an Economic Development District (EDD) organization and locate its most recent CEDS.

Applicants may contact the EDA Representative for their area listed at www.eda.gov/contacts/ for assistance to locate the applicable CEDS or equivalent plan(s). Applicants from geographies that are not covered by an EDD are encouraged to reach out to their regional EDA Representative to help determine a CEDS-equivalent.

9. The Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation NOFO says that projects that support upgrades or retrofits to existing travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation infrastructure must make such infrastructure more functional under pandemic social distancing conditions (e.g., consistent with CDC guidelines). What does that mean?

Projects to upgrade/retrofit infrastructure are eligible if they are designed to enable the use of those facilities in a manner that is consistent with CDC guidelines on pandemic safety, e.g., social distancing. Projects that are directed at upgrading or retrofitting infrastructure to increase travel or tourism activity are also eligible, even if they do not specifically facilitate compliance with CDC guidelines.

10. What should I do if I have additional questions not answered in this FAQ?


1. EDA-covered territories are inclusive of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

2. Please note that this includes the governing body of a Tribe, non-profit Indian corporation (restricted to Indians), Indian authority, or other non-profit Indian Tribal organization or entity; provided that the Indian Tribal organization or entity is wholly owned by, and established for the benefit of, the Indian Tribe or Alaska Native Village.

3. Please note that this includes the governing body of a Tribe, non-profit Indian corporation (restricted to Indians), Indian authority, or other non-profit Indian Tribal organization or entity; provided that the Indian Tribal organization or entity is wholly owned by, and established for the benefit of, the Indian Tribe or Alaska Native Village.

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