Grant of $6M to boost NC tourism, outdoor recreation

by Think Currituck, on 3/7/22 12:45 PM

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Currituck County will be among the numerous localities in North Carolina to benefit from a generous $6.4 million investment, which is coming through the U.S. Economic Development Administration Tourism Grant. The news was announced by the North Carolina Department of Commerce in a press release on March 2.

In the Commerce Department's announcement, it was noted that in the year before the pandemic came stateside, Carolina's tourism industry generated $29-plus billion to the economy and 11% of the workforce. Although visitors' dollars went down by 32% as a result, visitors to state parks went up by by 1.2 million people compared to 2019.

The goal of the program, titled “Supporting and Strengthening Resiliency in North Carolina’s Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Sectors Initiative,” is to aid in creating ways that locations can not only recover, but also thrive again.

Concerning this program, Governor Roy Cooper was quoted, “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. Investing in the resilience and growth of this sector is the right thing to do for our entire economy.”

An important aspect of the initiative will be focused on outdoor recreation in rural and underdeveloped localities as well as Main Street programs, the latter of which strive to develop a town's businesses and tourism. 

The program will also help to launch and grow three ways that could speed up the tourism's recuperation.

  1. Workforce training, which can teach or strength skills for employment in travel/recreation industries. Jobs in culinary arts and hospitality are two examples.
  2. Economic development that will have visible results.
  3. Creating and fostering technical skills that also play a part in recovery.

Machelle Baker Sanders, the state's Commerce Secretary, said, “North Carolina’s hospitality sector is dependent on a strong economic recovery. 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.”

One agency cannot achieve all the desired results. Working together will be the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division; the N.C. Pandemic Recovery Office; Appalachian State University; the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina; and the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association.

nc tourismGrandfather Mountain. Photo: NC Tourism

According to the Commerce Department's press release, those agencies will support these features:

  • Appalachian State University | UPLIFT NC Program (Understand, Plan, Link, Innovate, Finance and Tell) The latter will concentrate on the aforementioned rural and underdeveloped localities.
  • North Carolina Department of Commerce | Outdoor Recreation Economy Strategic Planning and Asset Development Program That will focus on ways to find ways to grow outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association Foundation | Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Development Program That part will hone in on training in hospitality and tourism, as well as offering needed certification courses – such as food services – for current and potential workers in hospitality.
  • North Carolina’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office | Statewide Outdoor Recreation Industry Network Program This will include growing the local manufacture of equipment needed in outdoor recreation – building boats and fishing gear are two examples.
  • North Carolina Department of Commerce | N.C. Main to Main Trail Program That particular enterprise will strive to pair historic downtown districts with any available products and services connected to the use of natural resources and assets, such as forests, lakes and rivers for hiking, swimming and fishing.

To learn more about what the Commerce Department is doing to strengthen North Carolina, please visit


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Topics:North CarolinaTourismEconomic Development

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