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AMHERST — The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a Mass. Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) Marketing Travel & Tourism Recovery Grant totaling $116,655, in a very competitive application process, to leverage a comprehensive marketing campaign to attract visitors to the Amherst area.

Tourism, the third largest economic sector in the Amherst region, has been decimated by COVID, said Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, adding, “this grant instills hope and will allow us to highlight the best of Massachusetts, showcasing the Amherst area as a hub for culture, education, global dining, agriculture, and local business. We have long been a destination for tourists to experience Western Massachusetts, and these funds will allow us to deploy tourism assets we would not otherwise have the means to do, and will enhance our region’s tourism recovery, amplify our ‘destination Amherst’ focus in tandem with the State’s MyLocalMa and ‘Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is’ campaigns.

“The comprehensive marketing campaign will leverage and focus on our regional assets — the natural beauty and outdoor recreational points of interest in our region, our iconic and internationally known art and cultural institutions including museums and historical sites, and our rich gastronomy culture where local farm-to-table sourcing meets global flavor in order to draw visitors to Western Mass and enhance visitor’s experience once they arrive,” she went on. “We will use photography, video production, and the creative content to tell the story of the Amherst area and the local businesses, institutions, and people that call it home.”

Tigerweb, a local marketing firm, will be responsible for the marketing collateral and deliverables, and has been chosen due to its ties to the Amherst area and for its prior work on the chamber’s nationally recognized #IAMherst COVID recovery campaign.

“With 59 awardees, eight being Western Mass., we see this as another vote of confidence in Western Mass from our Eastern Mass counterparts to put our region’s assets on the map,” said Pazmany. “We all know why we live and work here, but this allows us to tell that story to attract visitors and to also amplify our pride to all those who have now moved here as a result of the urban flight of the pandemic, and to instill true value in the quality of life we hold dear here.”

The grant was awarded on April 20, and the marketing campaign will run through Sept 1.