U.S. Department of Commerce invests $2.5 million to boost tourism and outdoor recreation in Valdez

City of Valdez.

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – On Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is providing a $2.5 million grant to the town of Valdez to boost tourism by supporting the development of infrastructure and outdoor leisure facilities in Meals Hill.

The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan. The project will help build bike paths, hiking trails and other visitor amenities in Meals Hill to attract new visitors and stimulate the growth of tourism-related businesses. The grant will be matched by $633,184 in local funds and is expected to create or maintain 115 jobs and leverage $22.7 million in private investment, according to recipient estimates.

“President Biden recognizes the vital contribution that the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “This EDA investment in Valdez will help the region’s critical tourism sector not only recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but build back stronger for the future.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to working with communities to support their local pandemic recovery and reconstruction strategies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will create new outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors to Valdez, creating potential for new economic and employment opportunities.”

This project is funded through the EDA’s competitive $240 million American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program.

The EDA awarded $510 million in 2021 to the 50 states and territories. Both programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities dependent on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

On May 26, the EDA officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications.

Funding for the $3 billion program will be provided on an ongoing basis through September 30.

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