CARSON CITY — The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) has awarded $1.1 million in grants to rural Nevada tourism organizations for marketing efforts, Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison announced Wednesday.
“Providing matching funds for marketing rural communities, creating special events and developing updated technology is an important partnership between NCOT and rural Nevada,” Hutchison, NCOT chairman, said. “Ensuring the funding is used most efficiently and on measureable, revenue-generating initiatives makes this long-running program among the most successful grants platforms in the state.”
NCOT awarded 176 grants to publicize projects designed to increase overnight stays in rural Nevada, including a new Off-Highway Vehicle (OFV) festival in the Moapa Valley, familiarization tours along the U.S. 50 corridor for travel writers and familiarization tours of the Reno-Tahoe area for Brazilian tour operators. NCOT advises the Nevada Division of Tourism — popularly known as TravelNevada — which is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (NDTCA).
“With this latest batch of grant requests, Nevada’s rural tourism industry demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness,” Claudia Vecchio, NDTCA director, said. “Among the funded projects are opportunities to bring travel writers and tour operators into Nevada’s rural areas — places those people might not have visited had these projects not been planned.”
Among the funded projects:
- A $12,000 award was given to the Boys & Girls Club of Mason Valley to market tourism-drawing events Night in the Country music festival, the We Dig Mining concert and other events.
- A $15,000 award was given to Cowboy Country Territory, a group that promotes most of northern Nevada, to create a promotional video of the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association (WSRRA) finals in Winnemucca. The WSRRA preserves the American cowboy culture with 50 ranch rodeos in 11 states — including Nevada, which has WSRRA-sanctioned ranch rodeos in 11 cities — culminating in the finals in Winnemucca.
- A $5,000 grant was awarded to Indian Territory, a group that promotes tribal tourism, to publicize Nevada tribal tourism offerings and gain knowledge of tribal tourism trends at the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) conference in Colorado.
- An $8,000 award was given to the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project to market a biannual off-highway vehicle festival centered around the Logandale Trails System.
- A $6,500 award was given to Pony Express Territory, a group that promotes tourism along the U.S. 50 corridor, to support three different familiarization tours for Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) members. SATW will host its national conference in Las Vegas this fall, an event that includes several familiarization tours showcasing the state’s rural areas to travel writers.
- A $10,000 grant was awarded to Reno-Tahoe Territory, a regional tourism promotion group, to cover transportation costs associated with a familiarization tour for Brazilian tour operators this fall. Brazil is one of the fastest-growing travel markets to the United States, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Grant awardees must provide a 50-50 match in funds or volunteer hours. TravelNevada reimburses the applicants after the projects are completed and labor and funding details have been provided. This recent disbursement is the first for fiscal year 2016; a second disbursement will take place later this year.
Funding for the Rural Grants Program does not come from the state’s general fund. TravelNevada receives three-eighths of 1 percent of room tax revenue as its operations budget. A portion of those funds are used to offer the Rural Grants Program, which helps nonprofit groups and government agencies in rural Nevada enhance visitation from overnight stays.
For a complete listing of grant recipients by tourism promotion territory, click here.
The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) is a 15-member commission that advises the Nevada Division of Tourism, which is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. NCOT is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination to domestic and international travelers. For more, visit www.TravelNevada.biz.
Chris Moran has lived in Reno since 1996, and currently works at the Nevada Division of Tourism as a public relations specialist. She is a former editor and writer at the Reno Gazette-Journal, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her hobbies include skiing, hiking, reading, photography, coffee and coffeehouses, and exploring Nevada. Check out her blog at www.ChrisinNevada.wordpress.com.