ALTON - The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau of Southwest Illinois along with the cities of Grafton and Collinsville were awarded a total of $135,000 in Illinois Travel and Tourism grants from the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Office of Tourism.

The grant funds will be used to market the region and the individual cities in tourism promotions spearheaded by the Tourism Bureau.

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“This is the first time we’ve applied for and received marketing grants for individual communities,” Cory Jobe, President of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau remarked. “The grants call for a 50 percent match, so effectively we will be spending $270,000 on paid targeted marketing efforts, in addition to our normal marketing budget. We’ve seen a surge in interest in our region in the last several years from key markets in St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana, and Central Illinois-and that can be directly attributed to our strong marketing efforts.”

The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau received a $50,000 grant. The City of Grafton received a $35,000 grant and Collinsville received a $50,000 grant. The Tourism Bureau will create and place all marketing collateral for both cities.

Travel and Tourism Grants are funded by the federal Economic Development Administration to help reinvigorate tourism in Illinois. Grants were available from $10,000 to $100,000. The grants are designed to provide funding for promotional efforts by local governments, municipalities, non-profits and Certified Convention and Visitor Bureaus. The goal is to attract visitors to destinations, attractions and events in Illinois.

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