The Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will get a $21,800 grant to help market the community to motorcoach and meeting planners outside of Rock County.

Christine Rebout, the bureau’s executive director, said the funding comes at a crucial time. The bureau’s marketing budget has been cut, and the funds will help bring people to Janesville and fill hotel rooms for tours and conventions.

The Edgerton Book & Film Festival will receive a marketing grant of $10,152.

Across the state, 55 nonprofit organizations are sharing $1.2 million in marketing grants that the state estimates will boost traveler spending by $18 million.

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project’s first year advertising and marketing costs and provides support for second and third year projects, but with decreasing amounts for funding each year until projects become self-sustaining.

In Walworth County, the Lake Geneva Wine Festival will receive $27,712.

Groups in Walworth and Green counties will share in a $40,000 grant to support marketing efforts for the Wisconsin Winery Tour that promotes wineries in 25 counties.

“Tourism is a core strength of Wisconsin’s economy” Gov. Jim Doyle said. “It’s clear the funds awarded through the Joint Effort Marketing program are having a major impact, boosting local economies throughout the state through higher traveler spending, job creation and tax revenues.”

Traveler spending in 2008 was up 2.7 percent, from $12.8 billion to $13.1 billion, despite last summer’s severe weather, high gas prices and a national recession that began to grip the nation in the fall.

Tourism is one of the state’s top three industries and is the main employer in many communities, supporting more than 200,000 full-time jobs.

“Every dollar awarded through the Joint Effort Marketing grant program last year produced a 10-fold return-on-investment while allowing individual communities to tap into the power of travel and make an impact on their local economies,” said tourism secretary Kelli Trumble said.

“The JEM grant program keeps Wisconsin’s tourism industry viable in a very competitive market.”

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