WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A celebration on the Big E fairgrounds Monday, after organizations representing the tourism industry across western Massachusetts received a $1 million grant.

The goal is to highlight the many sights to see including the Hall of Fame and encourage people to visit during the times they traditionally wouldn’t.

“It’s a testament to the success of the tourism industry out here in Greater Springfield and our region will benefit for a long time to come from this,” said Eugene Cassidy, President/CEO of Eastern States Exposition.

Cassidy said he’s never seen a grant of this size in his roughly 30 years in the tourism industry. Regional tourism groups from Berkshire to Hampden County are joining together to use the funding as part of a PR campaign, motivating people to visit between November and April.

The ad campaign will not only invest in traditional mediums like television but also social media, even enlisting the help of influencers.

“A lot of our travelers are younger people and that’s where they look for information on where they want to go. They might see a picture that’s visually appealing. They might see a meal and say, ‘I want to eat that,'” said Mary Kay Wydra, President of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism is distributing $6 million in federal funds across the state. The idea is to bolster small businesses, which has struggled because of the pandemic.

Representative Carlos Gonzalez of Springfield told 22News, “This million dollars will go a long way to continue to support our small businesses but also continue to bring more visitors to western Massachusetts.”

The PR campaign will be over two years.