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Area groups get $49K in tourism grants
Sparta, La Crosse organizations accept checks to promote initiatives
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Two area tourism organizations have a marketing boost to promote initiatives with the help of a total of nearly $50,000 in Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grants from the Department of Tourism.

The Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce received a $34,000 JEM grant to promote the new Cycle Driftless Destinations project, aimed at attracting more motorcyclists to the area. In addition, the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau received a $15,000 JEM grant to market the Mississippi River Rumble II, a BASSMASTER Elite Series fishing tournament that drew 15,000 spectators in 2012.

Both of these projects are expected to generate a combined economic impact total of over $2.9 million from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores.

Seven communities are working together to promote Cycle Driftless Destinations, including Sparta, La Crosse, Black River Falls, Hillsboro, Tomah, Onalaska and Trempealeau. These partners have combined their resources to produce an area map with five interconnected routes that circle through the back roads of Western Wisconsin and looking to expand marketing efforts with the help of the JEM grant. The grant will fund print, online and TV ads, as well as a direct mail piece. These efforts would be integrated with a cohesive public relations campaign. Target markets include motorcyclists from Michigan, Ohio, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit and other Midwest cities.

In addition, the Mississippi River Rumble II is a BASSMASTER Elite Series fishing tournament that expects to draw 2,400 spectators from outside the area. La Crosse was named a top 20 North American fishing spot by Field & Stream magazine and this is the second year La Crosse will host this tournament. The grant will fund niche and general print, TV, online and outdoor advertising. Target markets include families and fishing enthusiasts from the greater Midwest.