CARSON CITY, Nev. —  The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) awarded the much-anticipated Projects Relating to Tourism Grants, along with the semi-annual tourism marketing grants, at today’s commission meeting, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki announced.

Projects Relating to Tourism Grants help fund infrastructure improvements that will attract visitors, and after a temporary suspension due to a decline in tourism revenues, the grants were reinstated this year.

“These grants are small but mighty, enabling our rural destinations to make physical improvements that will attract more visitors,” Krolicki, NCOT chairman, said. “A place like Wells, which was so devastated in the 2008 earthquake, can’t have its rodeo and other events without the rodeo arena. The city applied for and received a grant to rebuild parts of the arena, and now it will be able to hold events that will generate revenue for their city.”

The grants totaled $200,000 and funded 19 projects. Other grant recipients include:

Safe Haven Rescue Zoo: $14,625 to build a new wildlife enclosure for rescued bears and Bengal tigers. The zoo has seen an increase in out-of-the-area visitors, and improvements to the facility will further that trend.

Indian Territory: $20,000 to create and install a permanent exhibit at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. This will be the first-ever permanent display of American Indian people, history and culture at the airport and will inform incoming travelers of where to see and experience the culture for themselves while they are here.

Churchill Arts Council: $27,500 to continue the renovation of the Oats Park Art Center in Fallon. The Frederic DeLongchamps historic former school is on the National Register of Historic Places and is used for many community events that attract visitors from throughout northern Nevada. It has already undergone more than $5 million in renovation, and the grant will fund some of the final projects, including installing a permanent public sculpture, installing courtyard lighting for evening events, restoring and installing the historic Lariat Motel sign, and renovating three rooms that will serve as a catering kitchen and seating areas.

Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society: $10,000 to improve the lagoon seawall and dock to enable more arrivals by boat. Most of the visitors arriving by boat are coming from California, and improvements to the seawall and dock will enable the Preservation Society to run a regular ferry tour service from Tahoe City.

NCOT also awarded the first cycle of marketing grants, part of a two-cycle, $1.3 million grant program. These grants are awarded to rural nonprofit and governmental agencies to market their attractions and destinations. They include:

City of Carlin: $9,000 for television and radio advertising of the city’s summer events. The ads will be purchased in Reno, Salt Lake City and Idaho, regions in which the city does not have funding to market.

Elko Convention & Visitors Authority: $10,000 for a familiarization tour that will highlight the new $24 million California Trail Interpretive Center and the Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival. The visitors authority will bring media and tour operators into the area to generate more tours to Elko and media coverage of the region.

Town of Pahrump: $5,000 to hire a public relations agency to proactively increase recognition of the town as a year-round “base camp” to Death Valley and other adventure destinations in the west.

“We received almost $1.5 million in requests for grants and were able to award $861,000, so we are making headway in helping our rural partners market themselves,” Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Director Claudia Vecchio said. “These grants are oftentimes a lifeline for our tourism-based towns in Nevada. They fund advertising, websites, attendance at consumer travel shows and even things as basic as printing brochures and maps. In other words, they fund the essential tools in destination marketing.”

NCOT is entirely funded by three-eighths of one percent of the state room tax. Grant applicants must be nonprofit entities and are required to provide a 50-50 match in funds or volunteer hours. NCOT reimburses applicants after projects are completed and labor and funding details are documented. For more information, visit