Tourism and Economic Recovery Marketing Grants (CLOSED)
The Tourism and Economic Recovery Marketing Grants are the implementation of a $600,000 appropriation by the Vermont Legislature in Act 74 (2021) to provide grants to organizations to support their efforts and activities related to regional tourism marketing to aid recovery from COVID-19. These grants are intended to enable local, regional, or statewide organizations to implement campaigns and initiatives that increase consumer spending, support local businesses, and advance community recovery efforts to support businesses in Vermont that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
How it Worked: The grant program was designed to increase the ability of regional organizations to work with partners to attract more visitors and visitor spending to their region of Vermont. In awarding funds, priority was given to projects that have the potential for long-term transformational impacts; campaigns that reach underrepresented and new and diverse communities of visitors; and projects that create assets that will live on beyond the life of the grant term. To increase regional and statewide collaboration, new creative assets developed with this grant funding will be shared with the Department of Tourism and Marketing for additional amplification and brand reach.
Awarded grant projects fell into five primary categories: arts and culture event; development of creative assets and targeted marketing; digital and/or website upgrades; festivals; and itineraries and/or mapping projects.
- Read the progress report (February 2022) on the Tourism and Economic Recovery Marketing Grants.
Buy Local Vermont Program (CLOSED)
The Buy Local Vermont Program was a pilot program for consumer stimulus funded through an allocation of the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). Launched to consumers on Tuesday, September 8, the program was designed to maximize the effect of local consumer spending, including at restaurants, retail stores, entertainment and performing arts venues, lodging, and tourism-related businesses to support businesses in Vermont that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Buy Local Vermont program drew an overwhelming response as soon as the program went live. Over 20,000 Vermonters activated verification codes and almost 12,000 received discount offers to support local businesses in their communities. Over 90% of the businesses that were signed up and were approved before the program launch, almost 1,000 locally owned businesses, received money from the $425,000 in discounts offered to consumers.
How It Worked: Vermonters who registered on Tuesday, September 8 starting at 11 a.m. were sent codes in the order in which they were requested. Once the codes were received, they could select discount offers from one or more local businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.
To make sure businesses in every Vermont county could benefit, funding was allocated to different regions of the state. Ensuring equity slowed down the issuing of the codes, as so many people signed up to participate at once. The program was also designed to encourage consumer spending in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy. Discount offers ranged from $10 at fast-casual eateries to up to $150 at lodging establishments.
Participating businesses each received an average of $436 each through the program. Customers have until December 31, 2021 to redeem their offers. ACCD anticipates that Vermonters will spend twice the amount of their offer when they redeem them, putting at least another $425,000 into the registers of cash-strapped businesses.
ACCD has proposed expanding #BuyLocalVermont with additional funding, which is currently being debated in the Legislature.
- Read the final status report (January 2021) on the Buy Local Vermont Program.
Buy Local Holiday Marketing (CLOSED)
The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, launched BuyVermontMade.com, a holiday shopping promotional campaign to highlight Vermont producers and merchants. Supported via CARES Act funding, this campaign included both statewide and regional components across an array of media. Statewide, the campaign encouraged online and brick-and-mortar shopping at Vermont-based merchants. Regionally, the campaign supported online sales of Vermont-made products.
Restart Vermont Regional Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program (CLOSED)
The Restart Vermont Regional Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program was funded through an allocation of the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide grants to organizations for efforts and activities related to economic recovery, consumer stimulus, marketing, or tourism related projects to support businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The grants were intended to enable local, regional, or statewide organizations implement campaigns and initiatives that will increase consumer spending, support local businesses, and advance community recovery efforts.
How It Worked: The Restart Vermont Regional Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program was launched on August 19, 2020. Eligible applicants included downtown organizations, chambers of commerce, regional development corporations, local and municipal economic/community development departments and committees, statewide business organizations, or other similar groups. Eligible uses of grant monies included development of programs or initiatives designed to increase consumer spending, through local stimulus programs, advertising, promotion, publicity, events, and other activities or initiatives specifically designed to support local businesses. Grant awards were capped at $10,000 per applicant and no match was required.
- Read the final report (February 2021) on the Regional Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program.