Funding to execute tourism projects that amplify New York State’s tourism promotion efforts under the EDA grant.
If you need help with the application, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (855) 582-FWRD (3973). The hours for the support line are as follows: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Monday-Friday.
Project Timeline Requirement:
- Projects will be required to be completed no later than September 1, 2025
- Final Project Reports due no later than March 31st, 2026
Eligible Applicant Qualification
Destination Marketing Organization (DMO):
A non-profit organization that promotes a location as an attractive travel destination that can include, but is not limited to, tourist boards, tourism authorities, tourism offices, tourism promotion agencies, and convention and visitors bureaus.
All Eligible Applicants must:
- Be a DMO, as defined above;
- Apply for a grant request equal to or more than $250,000;
- Be in operation in New York State as of the date of application;
- Be prequalified in Grants Gateway before execution of a contract;
- Be in substantial compliance with any NYS grants and program funding; and
- Be in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, codes, orders, and requirements, including tax, labor, public health, and environmental laws.
Eligible Use of Grant Funds
New York State will concentrate on sectors most in need of help and/or representing the most promising opportunity for growth to restore New York State to its previous record tourism and help it reach new heights. Those three core areas of focus for New York State’s EDA work are:
Pursue MICE tourism, amateur sporting events, and group tour business through sales and marketing efforts that encourage travel professionals to choose New York State for their clients and customers. Especially since New York State in recent years has spent billions of dollars on upgrading airports, convention centers, and other infrastructure, now is an ideal time for the state’s Division of Tourism to present a strong and unified message—under the iconic I LOVE NY logo— that New York State is the best place for meetings and events of all types and sizes. Tactics include:
- A marketing effort to promote New York State in the MICE, amateur sporting events, and group travel segments, including:
- A robust and unified state presence at crucial business and events
based travel trade shows.
- A dedicated web presence and other promotional material for meeting planners, tour operators, tournament organizers and others considering New York State for business and consumer
- Advertising and PR in relevant trade publications and outlets.
- Serving as a resource to meeting planners, tour operators, tournament organizers, event producers, and others involved
with booking trade, consumer, and sporting events.
- A robust and unified state presence at crucial business and events
As borders reopen, keep New York State top of mind and maximize the pent-up demand for travel with international consumers from our crucial feeder markets: Canada, the UK, Germany, and Australia. In addition to New York State’s ongoing business-to-business work to have tour operators and travel agents in these markets add New York State destinations to their offerings, efforts will increase interest by reaching out to consumers more directly. Tactics include:
- Paid consumer advertising in our key international feeder markets.
- Paid marketing and partnership opportunities with companies like airlines and tour operators to promote New York State to international travelers.
Maximize outdoor tourism and convert first-time users of New York State’s outdoor recreational assets to regular guests. At the same time, create broader awareness of lesser-known and visited outdoor destinations to help redirect visitors from more crowded investments and improve the visitor experience with increased programming and staff support while ensuring the long-term preservation of natural assets for continued, sustainable visitation.
- A targeted marketing strategy to promote New York State as a premier destination for outdoor recreation destination, including a strong state presence at essential trade and consumer outdoor and adventure travel shows.
- Education and outreach through the state’s Love Our New York Lands campaign, which encourages sustainable use by inspiring a shared sense of responsibility and ownership of state lands. Utilizing channels like paid advertising, visitors and, in particular, audiences new to recreating in the outdoors are introduced to the principles of leaving no trace, shown the importance of planning, and encouraged to show respect for one another while enjoying the outdoors.
- Expand the state’s Ladders to the Outdoors program to increase access to outdoor recreational spaces with adaptive equipment, transportation, multilingual interpretation, and skills development that make outdoor recreation more accessible to underserved populations.
- Update and expand the technology to improve the guest experience at state parks and historical sites with overhauled websites, an improved Parks’ Explorer mobile App, and updating the popular virtual tours of at least 100 state-run properties.
Ineligible Use of Grant Funds
- Individuals and for-profit entities are not eligible to receive grants under this program;
- No grant funds under this program may be used to subsidize or defray the operating costs of for-profit businesses;
- Grant funds under this program cannot be used toward projects that are already funded in any way by the NYS Division of Tourism or by any other NYS agency;
- Projects that are not aligned with the Division of Tourism’s EDA areas of focus, as indicated above, will not be deemed eligible;
- Projects focused on primarily locally oriented events or activities that do not draw visitors from over 50 miles away will not be deemed eligible;
- Grant funds under this program cannot be used for any capital projects or capital costs;
- Grant funds under this program cannot be used for alcohol; and
- Grant funds under this program cannot be used for events or activities involving religious worship, instruction, or proselytizing, nor political activities of any kind or nature.
Application Document Requirements
- Complete and provide a procurement process/procedure document
- Complete the Compliance with EDA American Rescue Plan Fraud Awareness Training.
- Attestation that the Applicant substantially complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, codes, orders, and requirements.
For instructions on how to obtain a UEI, visit https://www.sam.gov
- Scope of Work
- Project Narrative including a list of tasks the grantee will undertake to implement the Scope of Work;
- Expected Outputs and Outcomes of the project;
- Evidence demonstrating the capacity and capability of the applicant to achieve the expected outputs and outcomes of the project; and manage the grant and all its reporting and other administrative requirements;
Project Budget including, if applicable, a Staffing Plan showing the individuals or positions that will charge time to the award along with salary, percentage of effort, and estimated total amount each individual will prosecute to the award
ESD reserves the right to request additional information that ESD, in its sole discretion, deems to be necessary to prove any grant requirements are being met. Additionally, all grants are subject to the EDA approval, and at EDA’s request, grantees may be required to provide additional information and documentation as requested.
- Execute a contract
- Complete the US Department of Commerce’s Compliance with EDA Rescue Plan Program Requirements Fraud Awareness Training and submit the signed completion certificate within 60 days of the grant award;
- Be prequalified in Grants Gateway before execution of a contract
- Be in compliance at all times with the reporting and all other requirements established and communicated at the time of or before contracting.
- Grantees must submit all reports digitally on the forms supplied. Adherence with Federal Contractual Requirements
- When entering into a contract with the Department, grantees must adhere to the principles of 2 CFR Part 200.
Grants and Disbursements
Requests must be more than $250,000 to be eligible. Funding requests can be reduced based on factors, including, but not limited to, economic impact, regional distribution of funding, and past contract compliance with Empire State Development (ESD).
Up to 25% of the total award will be advanced to the Grantee to be used for eligible project costs. The Initial Advance will be determined upon execution of a contract, a completed Claim for Payment 1, and other documentation as required.
If no expenditures are made within the first year of the sub-award, the grantee may be required to submit an interim report with a justification as to why no spending has occurred. In ESD’s sole determination, awards may be rescinded if the reason is.
Subsequent Advances (Payments 2 – 4) to be used for eligible project costs will be disbursed in increments of 25% of the total award, no more frequently than quarterly. Grantee shall spend at least 75% of project expenditures from the previous disbursement and 100% of all early distributions, as demonstrated by documentation, including invoices and proof of payment, before ESD provides for the subsequent distribution. Grantee will submit a completed Claim for Payment with each request and other documentation as required.
Within six (6) months of the final advance, complete documentation of eligible expenditures, including invoices and proof of payment of 100% of the fourth advance (cumulative expenditures totaling at least the amount of the total grant), as well as a final project
report with metrics as outlined will be required. To avoid recapture of funding up to the entire award amount, submit a final report with other documentation.
Grantees will be required to comply with all of the Specific Award Conditions for the specific EDA award, including but not limited to the Standard and Specific Award conditions and the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 C.F.R. part 200). Terms and conditions can be found at www.commerce.gov
Questions and Answers
Q: What is the timeframe of the NYS EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Award Grants?
A: Projects can begin subsequent to a Grants Disbursement Agreement being furnished to
your organization, and the project must conclude by September 1, 2025.
Q: What records and documentation do I need to maintain?
A: Grantees must maintain all records involving contracts, transactions, etc. related to the
NYS EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards grant. Failure to provide sufficient documentation upon
request could potentially jeopardize the award and potentially require repayment of dispersed
Q: What information will I need to provide for reporting purposes?
A: As required by the EDA, Empire State Development (ESD) will be collecting qualitative
and quantitative data at points throughout the grant period. Further information on the method of
and deadlines for reporting will be forthcoming. The type of information ESD will be looking for
- A concise overview of the activities undertaken during the reporting period.
- Accomplishments, benefits, and impacts of the project, including activities that have led
to specific outcomes such as job creation/retention, private investment, increased regional
collaboration, engagement with historically excluded groups or regions, enhanced
regional capacity, or other positive economic development benefits.
- Progress on the project with the targeted schedule, explaining any departures, identifying
how those departures will be remedied, and projecting the course of work for the next
- Challenges that may impede progress on the project over the next reporting period and
ways to address those challenges.
Also, if applicable, answers to the following questions:
- Whether the grant supported: events, networking, and/or referral activities; research and
development activities; and/or planning and institutional development activities?
- How much private investment was leveraged as a result of the EDA grant?
- How many jobs were created or retained as a result of the EDA grant (permanent, direct
or directly-attributable to EDA grant)?
- Was the EDA grant intended to improve access to new markets and/or business networks
for your organization and/or your region?
- How many new professional/business relationships did your organization form as a result
of the activities under EDA grant?
Q: Can my project support a for-profit business?
A: According to the EDA: “Individuals and for-profit entities are not eligible to receive
subawards. No grant funds, whether expended by the Recipient or a subrecipient, may be used to
subsidize or defray the operating costs of for-profit businesses.” This prohibition, for example,
might include marketing a single for-profit business by name in advertising materials. For
specific questions regarding this requirement, please contact
Q: We need to contract with a vendor that may be a for-profit business. Is this
A: Yes, funds can be used to contract with for-profit businesses for goods and services used
in the execution of efforts outlined in the scope of work. Any goods and/or services performed or
furnished by contractors or subcontractors must be procured in a competitive manner using the
grantee’s procurement standards AND in compliance with federal procurement regulations.
Small Purchase Procedures as outlined below can be utilized for contracts less than $250,000.
For specific information, see the Uniform Guidance 2 C.F.R. section 200.317 through section
Q: What are some procurement basics I need to know?
A: For contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold ($250,000), the recipient must
get quotes from at least three potential providers. Grantees do not have to contract with the
lowest quote, but must document why the provider that was chosen was the most advantageous
for the project. Price must be a consideration.
For contracts under $10,000, grantees are only required to document that the price is
reasonable. Grantees must also make some effort to distribute the contracts to qualified vendors.
You may not apply geographic preferences.
A grantee may not just award contracts to existing partners without getting proposals
from other qualified providers. A longstanding relationship between a vendor and a grantee is
not a sufficient reason to sole source a contract.
Q: Do I need to have written procurement procedures?
A: Yes, under section 200.319 of 2 CFR, recipients are required to have written procurement
procedures. If you currently do not have these, please touch base with your organization’s
accounting department and/or your organization’s auditors.
Q: We would like to work with a vendor that we feel would qualify as a sole-source
procurement. Can we work with them?
A: Grantees may not utilize sole-source procurement without prior approval by ESD and the
Q: Will I be audited?
A: All non-federal government agencies and nonprofit organizations that expend $750,000
or more in federal awards in a given fiscal year are required to obtain a Single Audit. A Single
Audit is a tool to determine whether your organization’s financial statements fairly present its
financial position and whether they are presented in accordance with GAAP or another
comprehensive basis of accounting. It also assesses whether management is in compliance with
program regulations and the terms and conditions of the Federal awards for programs identified
as major programs for the audit.
“Federal grant funds” refers to money paid to a nonprofit, either directly from a federal
agency, or by way of funds originating at the federal level and passing through another entity,
such as a state or local government agency – or another nonprofit (that nonprofit is knows as a
“subrecipient” of federal funds).
For more information, please contact your organization’s auditors, legal counsel, or visit:
Q: What impact does Grants Gateway have on our ability to receive awards?
A: Grantees must ensure they are in “Document Vault Pre-Qualified” status throughout the
duration of the grant period in order to receive funds. ESD cannot provide any funds to
organizations that are not properly enrolled in Grants Gateway.
Q: I had to register in SAM.GOV and obtain active status. Do I need to follow up with
A: Yes – entities will need to maintain Active Status throughout the duration of the grant in
order to receive funds.
Q: What if I have additional questions?
A: Please contact NYEDATourismSubawards@esd.ny.gov
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® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.