Convention and Visitors Bureau, Merrimack Valley Chamber Receive State Tourism Recovery Grants

Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and other officials during a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the new 311 call center 2017. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce both plan to target tourists with Travel and Tourism Recovery Grants awarded by the Gov. Charlie Baker administration this week.

Grants are dedicated to marketing projects that support the “My Local MA” campaign, enhance tourism recovery and have the potential to increase non-resident visitation. The program’s goal is to strengthen the Massachusetts economy through the development and enhancement of the state’s tourism industry.

“The tourism and hospitality industry is vital to the economic well-being of Massachusetts,” said Baker. “Our administration recognizes the challenges this industry has faced during the pandemic, and these grants will support the Commonwealth’s recovery by allowing grant recipients to market to their local strengths.”

North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau was awarded $20,000 for its proposed “Love My Local MA” campaign to increase visitation to the area. The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce is receiving $9,000 to spotlight Merrimack Valley locally owned businesses with particular attention to minority-owned business, veteran -owned business and women-owned businesses.

Grants totaling more than $1.6 million were awarded Tuesday to 59 organizations by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall.

Examples of projects aligned with the program’s goals include Old Sturbridge Village’s “Come and Stay” campaign; the towns of Concord and Lexington’s joint promotion of “Two Historic Towns; One Memorable Trip;” and the East of the River Chamber of Commerce for website development, video, signage and increasing access for diverse populations and people with disabilities.

Polito said, “We are grateful to our tourism councils, municipal colleagues, and regional and local chambers of commerce for their continued partnership, as we tackle this challenge together.” She also announced the opening of the Destination Development Capital Grant Program. This $2 million competitive grant program will award funds to strengthen the economy through development projects that will expand, construct, restore or renovate Massachusetts tourism destinations and attractions, and aid in destination recovery and resiliency. This program was created in the economic development bill signed by Gov. Baker in January.

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