ARPA funds to be used to boost local tourism

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, January 4, 2023

A portion of the $75 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to boost the tourism industry in Kentucky have now been received by the Danville-Boyle County Tourism Commission.

The ARPA funds were approved earlier this year with the goal of offsetting some of the decline in tourism that occurred during the pandemic. From that $75 million, $25 million was set aside specifically for a grant program available for tourism commissions around the state. The Danville-Boyle County Tourism Office applied for and has now received $138,260 from that $25 million. To receive the funds, the tourism commission had to commit 10 percent in matching funds, bringing the total amount that will be spent on ARPA-related projects in Danville and Boyle County to more than $150,000.

“When we applied for the ARPA funds, we had to outline specific projects we wanted to accomplish to benefit and increase tourism,” said Kendall Clinton, executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Tourism Office. “Over the next two years, that $150,000 will be used on 10 projects we included with our application. These projects are in addition to the marketing and advertising we’ll be able to accomplish with the revenue we already receive from the local room tax, as well as funds we received from another grant program back in May.”

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Within the next few weeks, the tourism office will spend a portion of the ARPA funds to begin distributing their local tourism brochures through Ad Rack at hotels, rest stops and other strategic locations along I-75 and in northern Kentucky and into Ohio, a project that will continue through the end of 2024.

There are also funds budgeted for:

• Billboards on I-75 in northern and southern Kentucky to be displayed in 2023 and 2024.

• New videography of tourism-related locations, events and businesses for the tourism office’s website, as well as for digital and television advertising.

• Hospitality training in 2023 and 2024 for local frontline workers, such as hotel staff and restaurant servers.

• Tourism wayfinding signage.

• Media tours in 2023 and 2024 for journalists, bloggers and social media influencers who focus on travel.

• Local tourism research projects.

• Advertising targeted at outside groups that might hold meetings or other events in Danville.

• Professional development for tourism office staff.

• Assistance of social media influencers.

The tourism office has until December 2024 to use the ARPA funds, which are in addition to more than $25,000 the tourism office applied for and received in May through the Kentucky Department of Tourism’s EDA Grant Program. Some of the EDA grant funds have already been used to complete updates to the tourism office’s website, pay for the services of a travel writer, pay for a portion of the production of the Boyle County-focused episode of the KET television show Downstream and advertising on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail website.

There is still EDA grant money left that will be used in 2023 for professional photography of various locations and events throughout Boyle County to be used in marketing and advertising, as well as covering expenses to attend motorcoach and group travel events where tourism office staff will have the chance to recruit out-of-state tour groups to Danville and Boyle County.

“We are so grateful to all those who helped make the EDA and ARPA funds available to tourism offices throughout the state,” Clinton said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to complete several projects in a relatively short period of time that normally would be outside of our budget.”

Learn more about the Danville-Boyle County Tourism Office online at