Today, Gov. Reynolds announced a new $6.5 million investment in communities to bolster tourism and quality of life through Destination Iowa. The grant initiative, which launched in 2022 with federal funding, became a state-funded initiative following approval from the Iowa legislature this year.  

“Destination Iowa has inspired communities statewide to dream big about projects that will give tourists a reason to explore and newcomers a reason to call Iowa home,” Governor Reynolds said. “This initiative has advanced 46 projects across the state so far , activating more than $480 million in total investment. Support from the state will open this opportunity for even more communities to boost tourism and quality of life while raising the profile of our state.” 

The IEDA Board approved the Destination Iowa program guidelines and procedures at its monthly board last Friday. Funds will be awarded to projects investing in vertical infrastructure such as land acquisition and construction, recreational trails and water trails. The goal is for Iowa communities to make strategic investments that create or support lasting opportunities to attract visitors and enhance quality of life amenities for residents, thereby boosting local economies and attracting talent.   

Priority will be given to applicants that have not been awarded money from the federally funded Destination Iowa fund or other programs intended to support community attraction and tourism projects after July 1, 2018. Eligible applicants include cities, counties and not-for-profit organizations.  

The program will follow a two-step application process. Pre-applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from October 23, 2023 through January 31, 2024 via a form on IEDA’s website.  For those applicants invited to apply for the full application, the final application deadline is March 1, 2024. 

IEDA will designate a grant committee to review applications and make funding recommendations to the IEDA Board for consideration at the April 2024 monthly board meeting. For more information, visit