BELOIT—A new COVID-19 grant program aimed at helping tourism agencies across Wisconsin was announced this week by Gov. Tony Evers, and Visit Beloit Executive Director Celestino Ruffini says his organization will apply for the new stimulus funding.

The Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) grant program is an $8 million effort to provide support to the state’s beleaguered tourism industry. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, TRAVEL grants will be distributed to Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and tourism development organizations for the purposes of resuming business operations and helping restore economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“The tourism industry is among the hardest hit by COVID-19,” Evers said in a news release. “The TRAVEL grants are designed to sustain local operations, staffing, and relief stimulus activities to drive immediate spending and reinforce safe travel in support of local businesses across the state.”

The Department of Tourism is accepting applications now through Sept. 28.