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County directs federal funds toward tourism-centered events

Funds to create new food, culture festival
Posted at 12:55 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 14:55:46-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the use of federal grant funds to boost the area's tourism and hospitality industries.

The Pima County Department of Attractions and Tourism will receive $1 million in federal grant funding. Of that amount, $250,000 will support Tucson City of Gastronomy to create new events that promote Southern Arizona's cullture, food festivals and the designation of Tucson as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The funds will create a Pueblos del Maiz Fiesta, a new bilingual culinary festival that celebrates the history and culture of maize cultivation.

“We know that culinary interests impact travel decisions and that since Tucson was named the first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in the U.S., we have experienced significant local, national and international media attention, all helping grow our local economy through increased bed tax revenue, and growing food-related businesses and the industry as a whole,” said Diane Frisch, Director of Pima County Attractions and Tourism, said in a statement. “The pandemic was devastating for so many of our local restaurants and food businesses, which represent a large part of our culinary identity and attraction to visitors. The development and promotion of new, successful events will be critical to the local industry’s recovery.”

Funds will also go to Visit Tucson, which will create ad campaigns and promotional efforts that benefit tourism in Southern Arizona.

The grants come from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds via the American Rescue Plan Act.