The City of Saint Paul has approved $4.5 million of federal American Rescue Plan funding to support tourism recovery in Saint Paul. The Tourism Recovery Support Program is meant to provide grants to organizations able to demonstrate that their normal, pre-pandemic operations have a significant impact on tourism in Saint Paul, and who suffered negative economic impacts from the pandemic which currently threaten the solvency of the organization and/or have a profound impact on the organization’s ability to conduct its normal operations.


  • For purposes of this program, “tourism” means visitors coming for arts, cultural, leisure activities or attractions produced and/or taking place by and within a facility located in Saint Paul.
  • “Significant impact” means that in the last year prior to the pandemic, the organization attracted (or promoted activities that generated) a minimum of 40,000 visitors annually to Saint Paul. The significant impact must relate to the promotion or generation of tourism in Saint Paul, as opposed to simply supporting tourism.
  • The primary activities of eligible organizations and businesses must themselves generate visits or significantly promote the activities that generate visits to Saint Paul. For organizations promoting tourism, the promotion must be the primary line of business of the eligible organization and must be exclusive to tourism within Saint Paul.
  • Eligible organizations are those in the tourism industry that were operating for at least six months immediately prior to March 1, 2020 and were affected by required closures and other efforts to contain the pandemic.
  • Examples of organizations specifically not eligible:
    • Hotels and other places of accommodation
    • Individual restaurants
    • Travel agencies
    • Any form of transit, such as taxis, rideshare, limousines, busses, airlines, etc.
    • Professional sports teams
    • Museums and other attractions operated directly by the city, county, or state (e.g., History Museum, Como Zoo)
  • Organizations must demonstrate financial hardship or other negative economic impacts of the pandemic which currently threaten the solvency of the organization and/or have a profound impact on the organization’s ability to conduct its normal operations.
  • Financial documents of the organization will need to be submitted with the application for the period of 2019, 2020, 2021 and current periods.
  • Organizations must provide an operating plan indicating how the emergency funding will help them recover financially and will aid in the economic recovery of the tourism industry.
  • Financial assistance will be related and proportional to the demonstrated economic impact of the pandemic on the organization. Award amounts will be determined by the organization’s demonstrated need for financial assistance, the organization’s demonstrated normal impact on the tourism industry, other awards or sources of funding received by the organization for COVID-relief, and the number of applications and amount of assistance requested from eligible organizations.
  • Organizations that received awards from the following three programs are specifically not eligible to apply for the Tourism Support Program:
    • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Main Street Cultural Mall Operator COVID Relief Grant Program
    • US Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Program
    • US Small Business Administration Restaurant Revitalization Fund
  • Other awards or sources of funding received for COVID-relief will not be disqualifying but will be factored into the determination of award amounts to ensure aid to the organization from the Tourism Recovery Support Program is both related and proportional to the extent and type of economic harm experienced.

Use of program funds

Program aid may be used by eligible organizations for the cost of programs, services, or capital expenditures, including support for payroll costs and covered benefits for employees, compensating returning employees, support for operations and maintenance of existing equipment and facilities, and technical assistance. Program aid must first be used for operational expenses that are generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the organization’s operation, before being used on other types of costs. Eligible expenses must have been incurred on or after March 3, 2021.


The application window has closed. Applications were due by Monday, March 28, 2022 at 5 p.m.

Last Edited: March 30, 2022