The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant, funded through an EDA American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation State Grant, provides funding to eligible applicants to support the economic recovery of the travel and tourism industry in Colorado through the execution of tourism marketing and promotional campaigns.
The maximum grant amount is $500,000 while the required match is 10%. Your request needs to have a funding ratio of 1-to-10 non-grant funding to grant funding. For example, if you request a grant of $100,000, you need to have at least $10,000 in other cash funding.
- To support the economic recovery of the travel and tourism industry in Colorado
- To attract visitors to Colorado cities and towns that were negatively impacted by the pandemic
The grant execution period extends up to two years from the grant agreement start date.
For: cities and other political subdivisions of the State, nonprofits, economic development district organizations, and Indian tribes
Amount: Up to $500,000 per application
Application period: June to August
OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office
Funding will be considered only to entities within the travel and tourism industry in Colorado that meet the stated eligibility requirements and demonstrated need as outlined in the grant guidelines.
Eligible applicants need to be:
- a nonprofit organization responsible for promoting tourism on behalf of a destination, acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of the State,
- a Colorado city or other political subdivision of the State,
- economic development district organization, or
- an Indian tribe or a consortium of Indian tribes
Individuals and for-profit entities are not eligible to receive funds per EDA’s regulation at 13 C.F.R. § 300.3. If the applicant entity has received American Rescue Plan funding for specific recovery tactics, the same tactics can not receive funding through the Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant.
Only one application per Colorado destination will be accepted.
Applicants need to have dedicated money that is at least 10% of the required grant amount at the time of grant agreement execution. For example, if a grant of $500,000 is requested, the applicant must identify $50,000 in cash match.
In-kind contributions do not satisfy matching requirements. Matching funds cannot come from Federal funds, the State's General Fund, other state funding or other grant funds, neither directly received, nor received through a third party.
Eligible projects are city, county, or regional tourism marketing and promotional campaigns. All marketing campaign messaging must support the travel and tourism sectors and be consistent with CDC guidelines for safe travel. Note: Due to statutory restrictions, advertising on behalf of private companies is not permitted.
Eligible marketing and promotional expenses include, but are not limited to:
- creative executions specific to the proposed marketing and promotional campaign:
- creative advertising production (print, digital, out-of-home, video, social, and radio)
- content development (written, video, or audio)
- photography/ videography and post-production video editing
- audio development (radio, podcasts, etc.)
- print and collateral (brochures, visitor guides, posters, and maps)
- marketing executions specific to the proposed marketing and promotional campaign:
- media placement (print, digital, out-of-home, television, paid social, and radio)
- social media and influencer initiatives (organic)
- public relations initiatives
- search engine marketing (SEM) initiatives (SEO/paid search)
- fulfillment costs
Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to:
- items for resale or promotional items, including gift cards
- food or alcoholic beverages
Although not required, applicants are encouraged to submit a brief LOI prior to completing a full application so that CTO staff can learn more about the proposed marketing campaign and what the destination hopes to achieve through Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant funding.
Applications for this grant are open! Follow this link to access the application portal.
The application process is as follows:
- Verify your eligibility by reading through the guidelines carefully.
- Obtain or confirm your entity’s valid UEI number. Visit Sam.gov for additional information.
- Register with Sam.gov if not already a registered entity. Applicants must be registered and active in Sam.gov before an award can be made. Proof of a Sam.gov active account (screenshot) or account registration initiation (email confirmation) will be required as part of the application. We understand the Sam.gov account registration process will take time.
- Prepare your application by reviewing this list of Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant application questions (DOCX). This document includes all application questions.
- Submit your full application in the OEDIT application portal. Instructions for navigating the grant portal are available.
- Applications will be reviewed.
- Status notification approximately eight to ten weeks after the application closes.
Applicants need to provide:
- a detailed budget outlining all marketing and promotional costs for grant purposes and identifying grant and grant recipient cash match amount for all line item expenses
- a detailed timeline that includes all milestones and deliverables
- letter(s) of commitment showing evidence of required 10% cash match – matching dollars may not come from the State’s General Fund, Federal funds, Colorado Tourism Office funds or other grant funds. Letter(s) of commitment must be on official letterhead and include the amount of cash committed by the organization
Additionally, nonprofit entities must provide:
- a Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State
- articles of incorporation
- documentation (letter) that the non-profit is acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of the state
Applications are first vetted through an internal compliance review to ensure eligibility and that all required materials have been submitted. Incomplete applications may be rejected.
The CTO will appoint a committee to review eligible applications. CTO will award grants based on application scores, availability of grant funding, and EDA final approval.
Reviewers will prioritize applications that include:
- a proposed marketing and promotional campaign that meets all eligibility requirements, states clear objectives, and includes attainable deliverables
- a travel and tourism industry-focused proposed campaign that responds to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, and is targeted towards increasing travel and tourism to Colorado
- a campaign or brand book demonstrating positioning, brand voice, and/or visual identity
- a campaign with measurable metrics and KPIs
- a well-planned project timeline and budget
- a strong demonstrated economic recovery need
The committee will score applications on these criteria:
- strength of tourism recovery-focused marketing campaign (25%)
- demonstrated recovery need (25%)
- provides measurable tourism impact (20%)
- implementation capacity (20%)
- budget and timeline (10%)
The CTO must submit potential grant award information to the EDA. The EDA will review the potential grant awards and determine whether the grant award is allowable. The CTO may not make any grant award until it has received approval from EDA.
Once an application is approved, OEDIT must execute a formal grant agreement with the awarded applicant prior to obligating or spending any grant funds. Awarded applicants may formally request grant payment(s) after execution of the grant agreement. To receive disbursements during the grant execution period, awarded applicants must submit a formal request for grant payment.
Applicants need to:
- agree to adhere to the Dept. of Commerce Terms and Conditions, if awarded
- agree to comply with 2 CFR Part 200 federal regulations if awarded
- complete the marketing campaign within the approved timeline and grant agreement end date
- keep the budget updated
- submit progress reports as outlined in the grant agreement
- submit a final report and final budget, as well as documents for expenses incurred, as outlined in the grant agreement
- CTO grant funds cannot be used as a match for existing or future grant opportunities including CTO co-op marketing opportunities
- creative assets must be approved by the CTO prior to production, publication, placement, and/or distribution
The applicant can financially match the project cost at a higher amount if the cost exceeds grant dollar limitations.
Marketing materials need to include the official Colorado Tourism Office consumer-facing logo. This logo is the default logo for all materials; however, CTO staff will work with each project to determine the most appropriate logo. Prior to publication, all materials must be approved by the CTO.
Stacked/Vertical Logo (only to be used when space is limited)
Changes to proposal
The Colorado Tourism Office needs to approve any significant refinements, clarifications, modifications or changes to the proposal or your organization may forfeit grant funds. Organizations must submit a formal proposal change request. Proposal change requests submitted 60 days or less from the end of the marketing campaign timeline may not be accepted.
Marketing campaigns need to be completed within the grant cycle period. Expenses incurred before grant agreement execution are not allowable expenses.
Reports must be submitted as outlined in the grant agreement. Awarded applicants will be required to submit periodic progress reports to the CTO regularly until all project components are completed. The terms of reporting will be agreed upon in the grant agreement following award approval and frequency will not exceed four reports per year.
In the final report, awarded applicants must submit a final budget and documents for expenses incurred as well as describe what was accomplished with the funding.
Unused grant funds shall be returned to the Colorado Tourism Office. Any grant funds not used as approved shall be returned to the Colorado Tourism Office pursuant to the grant agreement.
The following table outlines the timeline for the Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant:
|June 1, 2022||Application Opens|
|August 1, 2022||Application closes at 4:00pm MST|
|October 2022||Recipient notification|
|up to two years from grant agreement start date||Grant project execution period|
|on or before January 15, 2025||Final report and expense receipts due|