Through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) distributed $750 million to 185 grantees in regions hard-hit by declines in the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation industries. The awards currently fund a variety of initiatives aimed at accelerating the recovery of the visitor-based local economy with projects that include the development of new park areas, the construction of bike paths, the improvement of cultural tourism facilities and the improvement of historic neighborhoods.
This month, the EDA Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) Program leveraged the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Oregon State University’s Center for Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE) to launch a robust research program on Assess the effectiveness of these critical investments and identify best practices for future visitor-based economic development. The $598,050 grant will support the NGA Center and CORE for a two-year research period to collect and analyze data related to grants from the ARPA program Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation, attempting to identify connections between impacts EDA awards and the local situation to identify economies in which projects are located.
“President Biden recognizes the critical contribution that the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment is a critical first step in assessing and measuring the impact of America’s bailout plan on this key sector.”
The NGA Center and Oregon State University CORE bring world-class expertise to the program
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association represents the leaders of 55 US states, territories and commonwealths. Through the Center for Best Practices – the only research and development firm serving directly the nation’s governors – NGA develops innovative solutions to public policy challenges.
“This project will help state, local and federal leaders identify policies and implementation strategies that can be adopted to help the tourism and outdoor recreation sector recover, regionalize and diversify to build businesses, resilient to economic shocks,” said Timothy Blute, director of the NGA Centre. “We are pleased to be collaborating with EDA and CORE on this important initiative.”
The Center for Outdoor Recreation, housed at Oregon State University, conducts research aimed at understanding industry workforce needs and works with industry stakeholders to address training, leadership development and research needs identify and respond to them.
“By analyzing data produced by jurisdictions receiving grants from the American Rescue Plan Travel Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Program, this project will add significantly to the body of knowledge supporting state and local economic decision-making related to visitor-based development said Lee Davis, CEO of CORE. “Oregon State University and the NGA Center are uniquely positioned to deliver actionable and meaningful results.”
Research results from this initiative will be published on the NGA Center’s website for future use by economic development practitioners.