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Hotel Reception
Tourism Return to Work Grant
This program was created to incentivize employment growth by providing financial assistance to businesses in the tourism industry that suffered economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Empire State Development is accepting applications for their Tourism Return to Work Grant program which provides grants to tourism-related businesses who increase their workforce by at least two net new full-time equivalent jobs between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022. Grant amounts are $5,000 per full-time employee added and $2,500 per part-time employee added.

Application deadline is June 30, 2023

Eligibility requirements include:

  • be a for-profit or non-profit business.

  • be open to and/or servicing the public.

  • be engaged in a tourism-related field including, accommodations, arts, entertainment, scenic and sightseeing transportation, tour operators, convention and visitor groups, or other businesses that, in ESD’s sole discretion, qualify as businesses in the tourism industry.

  • increase their average employment between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022 by at least 2 net new full-time equivalent jobs.

  • have experienced economic harm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by a year-to-year decrease of at least 15% of gross receipts or gross wages between 2019 and 2020.

  • continue to be in operation as of the date of application.


If you meet the requirements based on the required eligibility screening tool, you will be sent an email in the upcoming weeks inviting you to submit a preliminary application that is expected to be made available in March 2022.

Click here for a list of documents you will need to complete the eligibility screening.

To learn more about this program, read ESD's FAQ document or contact

Navigating and applying to different COVID-19 relief programs can be confusing. The Pace University SBDC is here to help. Contact us to schedule a no-cost, one-on-one business counseling session.

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