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Matching Funds

The “VisitErie Tourism Matching Funds for Cooperative Marketing” program has been developed to increase the economic impact of tourism in Erie County, Pennsylvania. 

Download Guidelines & Application

Partners in good standing are eligible to apply for dollars from VisitErie to be used as a match fund for VisitErie partner cooperative advertising initiatives. The program goals are to encourage cooperative programs between local tourism-related businesses that will nurture relationships and broaden the message to potential visitors, attract tourists and visitors from outside Erie County and encourage overnight stays and day trips. Awards are granted on the basis of merit as determined by the established criteria.

A total of $50,000 is available for the program which runs January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020. Funding requests ranging from $2,000 - $15,000 will be considered. Funded Cooperative Marketing Programs will receive a dollar for dollar match from VisitErie. 

A matching funds workshop is scheduled for Wednesday September 18 from 3-5 pm at the Intermodal Center 2nd floor meeting room to review the guidelines and application process, meet VisitErie partners and discuss potential cooperative programs suitable for your business.

Tourism Matching Funds for Cooperative Marketing applications are due Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by 4:00 PM. Applicants are encouraged to meet individually with Emily Beck or send a draft of the application for review prior to due date. Contact Emily Beck at VisitErie, 814-454-1000 ext. 124 or for questions.

Eligible Applicants:

  1. Applicants must be a Business ($250), Corporate ($1,000) or Executive ($5,000) level partner of VisitErie.
  2. In addition to VisitErie, the proposed program must involve no less than two (2) participants (current VisitErie partners) directly related to the travel industry.


VisitErie Matching Funds Works!


Program: VIP Wine Package, Summer 2018

Promoting and selling a VIP tasting package along with a Visit Visa discount booklet to attract visitors to Wine Country for samplings, discount purchases and encouraging overnight stays. Primarily through social media generating $1050 packages sold.

“Having been the recipients of the VisitErie Matching Funds for the past couple of years, Lake Erie Wine Country has been able to develop a VIP Package program which highlights the local wineries in our region. The Matching funds have given us the opportunity to advertise in different markets than in the past and draw awareness which we might not otherwise have been able to achieve. The sales have been supported with customer traffic which then supports the businesses in the areas in which the wineries are located. It's been a win/win for our Trail as well as the local communities.” Nicki Kane, 21 Brix, Jenny Sholtis, Penn Shore Winery – Lake Erie Wine Country Marketing Committee 

 Program: Mazza Instant Getaway, Spring 2017

Promoting a comprehensive getaway package including wine, food and overnight stays in Erie County. The Facebook, Pandora, Pittsburgh Magazine and advertising campaign generated 30,809 clicks to the Mazza getaway pages.

“VisitErie’s matching funds program has been instrumental in helping Mazza expand reach and stretch marketing dollars. The program’s focus on cooperation with other attractions and hotels has helped pave the way for us to collaborate with these partners beyond the grant - providing additional benefits for all involved.” Mario Mazza, Mazza Vineyards, General Manager

Program: Lake Erie Ale Trail Travel Package, Spring 2017
Promoting overnight hotel packages with LEAT during American Craft Beer Week in April and May 2017 targeting craft beer enthusiasts in the Pittsburgh metro market with Pandora, Facebook and print advertising.

"With the help of VisitErie and their Matching Funds Program, the Lake Erie Ale Trail has been able to grow & expose itself to outside markets that would never have been possible without them."  Chris Sirianni, LEAT President, Brewerie at Union Station, President/G.M.

Program: Orchestrate Erie, Winter 2016

Promoting two separate concerts, Casablanca and Emperor Concerto, and an overnight package in February and March 2017 targeting the tristate area and Philharmonic enthusiasts with a multimedia approach.

 “I can’t stress enough the positive value and impact of the Matching Funds program sponsored by VisitErie.  By having the ability to advertise in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and the surrounding counties, we were able to bring a significant amount of first-time ticket buyers into the city, showcasing Erie's world-class talent and historical concert hall.”  
Steve Weiser, Erie Philharmonic

Program:Great Lakes Beach Glass & Coastal Arts Festival, Spring 2016
Promoting the Beach Glass & Coastal Arts Festival in the form of an overnight stay package with Sheraton Hotel targeting Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh Southern Ontario, Niagara Falls, Ashtabula, multimedia approach.

“The matching funds grant awarded by VisitErie made a noticeable difference with the outcome of our event. We saw an increase in the gate by almost 70% from the previous festival and know that a large part of our guests were from the out of town market areas that we targeted. Our grant partners were equally as pleased due to the positive outcome it had with all of our businesses.”  
Jennifer Reed, Relish Inc.