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North Carolina gets $6M from feds for tourism recovery

North Carolina has received $6.4 million to help the recovery of its travel and tourism industries, which suffered economic losses because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The federal government provided the money through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The state plans to use the money for a new tourism-focused economic recovery initiative.

“The travel, tourism and outdoor recreation industries are major contributors to North Carolina’s economy, bringing people here from all over the world and making our state a great place to live and work,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Investing in the resilience and growth of this sector is the right thing to do for our entire economy.”

North Carolina’s tourism industry contributed more than $29 billion to the state’s economy and accounted for 11% of the workforce before the pandemic, North Carolina Department of Commerce officials said. Visitor spending decreased by 32% after the pandemic, they said.

Congress set aside $510 million in Economic Development Administration Tourism Grants for states in March 2021.

North Carolina officials plan to focus the initiative on workforce training and economic development.

The state will look at ways to expand outdoor and recreation tourism. Commerce officials said visitors to North Carolina state parks increased by 1.2 million people during the pandemic.

The state will create the Outdoor Recreation Industry Network Program to support businesses in the sector and increase outdoor recreation gear manufacturing. North Carolina will establish the N.C. Main to Main Trail Program, which would help historic downtown districts embellish their “natural assets.”

In partnership with North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association Foundation, the workforce training program will provide hospitality training and certification courses to new and existing employees in the hospitality industry.

“North Carolina’s hospitality sector is dependent on a strong economic recovery,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “With the right partnerships, North Carolina will create a more resilient economy for these industries and the thousands of small businesses and workers that rely on visitor spending.”

This article was originally posted on North Carolina gets $6M from feds for tourism recovery

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