HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that she has awarded $10 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to support the Tourism Industry Recovery Program. The governor and the Alabama Tourism Department are utilizing these funds to help jump start the state’s tourism economy, following a significant downturn caused by the pandemic.
The money is being used for advertising purposes, to bring visitors back to Alabama. For many tourist spots, like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, those advertisements are a necessity.
“Institutions all over the state have been affected by the closures brought about by COVID,” said Pat Ammons, the Senior Director of Communications for USSRC. “Also the attendance numbers that have fallen so dramatically as people weren’t traveling.”
Ammons says the money will help get the word out about tourist destinations being open in the state.
“So this money that’s going to the state tourism department, that we understand, is to go to advertising which is to spread the word about all the great things there are to do here in the state of Alabama, including right here in north Alabama at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center,” said Ammons.
Gov. Ivey released a statement on the funding that said, quote:
“The tourism industry around the world has been one of the hardest hit during this ongoing health crisis, but in Alabama, we remain committed to remind those around our state and country that we are open for business. I am pleased to award these well-deserved dollars to an industry that has been hurting so that people can feel confident that they can be safe when visiting Alabama destinations. COVID-19 has taken a hit on our society, but that does not change the fact that Alabama has so much to offer. We look forward to helping our tourism industry grow, come back stronger and welcome visitors for years to come.”Gov. Kay Ivey
The advertising dollars will be spent based on where the most tourism happens. Madison County is number two in tourism draw for the state, with beach areas at the top.
“So what we hope this will do is bring that back, fill those lodging tax coffers back up some so all of us can benefit from those funds,” said Ammons.
The USSRC received no direct funding from the government. Their doors remain open because of the public. Ammons says so far, $1.6 million has been raised through the #SaveSpaceCamp campaign from over 8500 people across all 50 states and other parts of the world.
With doors wide open, the Rocket Center is ready to see more visitors, something Ammons hopes the $10 million will help do.
“We’re here and we’re open and we’re ready for them to come back,” she said.
The #SaveSpaceCamp campaign is still accepting donations, if you would like to help keep the USSRC afloat.