Rural tourism grants approved

The Nevada Commission on Tourism on June 9 approved more than $1 million in grants to help rural communities promote tourism

"The Rural Grants Program makes it possible for many Nevada communities with limited marketing resources to promote attractions and draw visitors, which helps support local economies," said commission Chairwoman Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt.

Rural-grant recipients will provide more than $1 million in matching funds, hours of volunteer work and in-kind services, she said.

Grants are awarded annually to help rural officials attend travel industry trade shows to promote area attractions and events; buy promotional materials, advertising, maps and brochures; maintain Web sites; create videos and DVDs; and hire professional services to develop tourism.

State tourism Director Bruce Bommarito said promoting rural Nevada attractions is essential in the highly competitive U.S. and international tourism markets.

"Nevada offers a wonderful combination of activities, events and amenities that attract visitors from all over the world. But before people make choices, they must be aware of what is offered," Bommarito said.

Among the grants are:

-- $10,000 to the Tonopah Chamber of Commerce to create the Tonopah Star Trail and convince visitors Tonopah is the place to view stars;

-- $6,000 to the Western Folklife Center in Elko to help promote the 20th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering there Jan. 24-31;

-- $10,000 for the Lake Tahoe Incline Village/Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau to promote the Incline Village Jazz Festival May 21-23 in conjunction with the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee;

-- $15,000 to hire urban and regional planner Chuck Nozicka for a Lincoln County tourism assessment and strategy development to maximize visitor potential;

-- $30,000 to hire destination marketing consultant Roger Brooks to assess ways to increase tourism in Yerington, Hawthorne, Tonopah, Goldfield, Amargosa Valley, Pahrump, Caliente, Pioche, Alamo and Round Mountain;

-- $3,500 to the Central Nevada Mountain Bike Association to advertise and promote Austin as a Nevada "biking capital." Its location on "The Loneliest Highway in America," U.S. 50, makes it an ideal site for bicycle racing events.


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