The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration on Thursday awarded $800,000 in federal CARES Act funding to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau in Orange Beach to revive tourism after a downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant, which is to fund marketing and research into how best to target that marketing, is to be matched with $200,000 in local investment, according to a press release from the Department of Commerce.
“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, in a statement. “This investment will fund a strategic, multi-faceted marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, resulting in continuous economic growth and job creation.”
“Alabama’s sparkling Gulf Coast is one of the many reasons that our state is a premiere destination to spend time with family or friends,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement. “COVID-19 has brought on challenging times for tourism around the globe, and I am excited to see this grant supporting our Coast safely welcome back visitors. Alabama is a place where southern hospitality, good food and beautiful places are abound, and we invite everyone to come enjoy all that our Coast offers.”
“COVID was disastrous for the tourism industry and Alabama’s Gulf Coast was not spared,” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, in a statement. “As travel begins to pick back up, these funds will be used to help to draw visitors back to Alabama beaches and generate much needed revenue for local communities.”