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Tourism Enhancement Grants Awarded to 17 Tennessee Communities

$1 Million Awarded to Assist Communities with Tourism Infrastructure Projects
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 | 01:46pm

Nashville, TENN. – The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today jointly announced 17 Tennessee Communities will receive more than $1 million in the fifth round of Tourism Enhancement Grants. The two agencies partnered to assist counties and cities seeking to improve local tourism assets with a goal to attract more visitors to their areas. In 2018, visitors added $22 billion to boost Tennessee’s economy.

Tourism Enhancement Grants are designed for cities and counties seeking to invest in local tourism infrastructure assets. Eligible projects include stages, signage, enhancement to attractions or venues, park improvements and other resources that target expanding local tourism. 

“Tourism is vital to fuel economic development in Tennessee,” said Governor Bill Lee. “These grants are especially important this year as we look to rebuild and restore our state’s tourism, particularly in Tennessee’s rural communities.”

Governor Bill Lee’s first executive order was to better serve rural communities. These tourism enhancement grants will address tourism needs for 8 at-risk and 6 distressed communities. 

“Tennessee has unparalleled outdoor beauty, waterways, fishing, boating and rural destinations rich with history, hidden gems and hospitality,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Our partnership with TNECD allows us to invest in unique projects that drive tourism and visitation, ultimately bringing more funds back into communities.”

“This partnership helps rural communities across the state bring their tremendous tourism assets into the spotlight and will help boost the state’s overall economic prosperity,” added Commissioner Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. 

The Tourism Enhancement Grant program, in its fifth round, is funded through the Rural Economic Opportunity Act, which is designed to improve the economic indicators in rural communities across Tennessee. Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representative in the Tennessee General Assembly.

The grants awarded include:

Decatur County
Grundy County
City of Smithville
Morgan County
Fentress County
DeKalb County
City of Lobelville
City of Martin
City of Wartburg
City of Celina
Union County
Town of Cumberland Gap
City of Sweetwater
Anderson County Government
Greene County
Benton County
Hamblen County

About the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll-delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at and join other Tennessee travelers by following “tnvacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube or “Tennessee” on Snapchat.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: