LAKE GENEVA — Gov. Tony Evers announced more than $140 million in grants to businesses and organizations that play an integral role in Wisconsin's tourism and entertainment industries. The new grant programs will be invested in industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including live event venues, movie theaters, summer camps, minor league sports and the lodging industry. Additional investments will be made in reopening Wisconsin historical sites and marketing support for Wisconsin's tourism industry.
“Wisconsin is bouncing back stronger than ever,” Evers said. “Whether it's an urban or a rural destination, these investments will help make sure that local venues and businesses come out of this pandemic ready to welcome folks from communities around Wisconsin and across the country. Wisconsin is the best place to live, play and work, and investing in businesses that promote culture and entertainment in our communities will pay dividends for Wisconsinites and communities across our state.”
“I'm grateful to Gov. Evers for his dedication to tourism, one of Wisconsin's largest industries,” said Department of Tourism Interim Secretary Anne Sayers. “From leisure travelers looking to reconnect with friends and family to business travelers attending meetings and conventions, these dollars will be crucial to help our industry bounce back. We can't wait to help more travelers discover the unexpected in Wisconsin.”
The investments announced by Evers include:
- $75 million for lodging grants
- $11.25 million for movie theaters
- $12 million for live event small businesses
- $2.8 million for minor league sports teams
- $10 million for live venues
- $15 million for destination marketing organizations
- $8 million for summer camps
- $1 million for the Wisconsin Historical Society to assist in reopening historical sites and
- $7.5 million to increase marketing support for Wisconsin's tourism industry
These investments are being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) and will be administered by the state Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue.
“Gov. Evers' investments in Wisconsin are making the difference to small businesses, organizations, and all Wisconsinites,” DOA Secretary Joel Brennan said. “Last year, local venues kept their doors closed to help protect their communities. Now that nearly half of all Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of the vaccine, life is returning to normal—minor league ball games are welcoming back families, theaters are reopening, and concert venues are booking new shows. These investments will ensure our communities bounce back stronger than before.”