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Tourism board endorses spending of $13.65M for pandemic recovery

The Nevada Commission on Tourism on Friday unanimously endorsed plans to use $13.65 million in federal grant funding to boost tourism marketing for an industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state was awarded funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration American Rescue Plan for tourism and outdoor recreation grants.

The meeting was conducted by Vice Chairwoman Cynthia Mun, who paid tribute to Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, whose resignation as lieutenant governor was effective Friday.

Marshall took a job in the Biden administration as senior adviser to governors. Gov. Steve Sisolak has not determined if or who he would appoint to fill Marshall’s position.

The lieutenant governor chairs the Commission on Tourism.

LVCVA to get $7 million

More than half of the money received for grants will go to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for domestic and international marketing programs. In addition to the $7 million that will go to the LVCVA, $1.25 million is going to the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority for domestic marketing programs.

An NCOT subcommittee worked for months to develop a plan to spend the money.

The federal grant also gave Nevada $760,000 to split into rural grants. On Friday, the NCOT board approved distribution of $730,547 to 92 entities after receiving 134 requests for funding.

Other distributions of the federal American Rescue Plan money:

— $1 million to the Nevada Division of Tourism, known as Travel Nevada, for in-state and domestic marketing in support of the agency’s recently approved strategic plan.

— $2 million for Destination Development grants and facilitation contracts. Destination Development is a long-range, tourism-based community planning program that enables Nevada’s rural communities to be more intentional about the way their visitor economies develop over time.

— $150,000 for adventure center site planning. During the early stages of the pandemic, many states experienced a surge of outdoor recreation visitors as people sought a healthy, safe travel outlet. Nevada experienced an unprecedented number of first-time outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom were uneducated about safety, best practices, and stewardship of public land.

— $600,000 for trail system and outdoor recreation infrastructure planning and rehabilitation.

— $150,000 for outdoor recreation economic impact analysis and asset mapping.

— $200,000 for a dark sky tourism market analysis and community planning toolkit. Marshall helped get dark-skies legislation approved in the 2021 legislative session to encourage use of the resource for tourism.

— $150,000 for Tahoe Meadows managed recreation planning. Outdoor recreation in the Lake Tahoe Region draws more than 15 million visitors annually. One of six principal gateways to the Lake Tahoe Region, it runs through the Tahoe Meadows along State Route 431, the Mount Rose Highway.

More than 10,000 visitors to the area daily all year-round have contributed to pressing challenges for the popular but problematic recreation area. Funds would be used to create an actionable recreation management plan to improve safety, access, and infrastructure while protecting the natural assets of the area.

— $300,000 to develop an Adventure NV mobile app. A well-executed mobile application can aid and inform the visitor experience for hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, hot springs, UTVing, stargazing, and other outdoor activities while providing safety and best-practices education.

A video featuring Virginia City musicians and a campaign promoting Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park are among the marketing projects that will receive funding from Travel Nevada’s rural grants.

Other grants

In Southern Nevada, the Las Vegas Territory received 10 grants totaling $70,740.

Among the recipients and projects:

— Administrative grants for the Las Vegas Territory geographic area, $27,425, for digital marketing and a marketing grant to distribute collateral items with the Las Vegas Territory brand

— Three grants totaling $5,575 to the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce for internet site development, general marketing materials for a rack card program and an advertising contract with Nevada Magazine

— Friends of Gold Butte, $2,740, to promote the new Gold Butte National Monument with print and digital projects

— Laughlin Tourism Commission, $16,000, for digital billboard advertising

— Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, $9,000, for publishing a business and destination guide

— Moapa Valley Revitalization Project, $10,000, for marketing materials

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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