IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 6, 2011
Mr. Begich (for himself, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Gillibrand, and Mr. Pryor) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish a competitive grant program to promote domestic regional tourism.
This Act may be cited as the
Travel Regional Investment Partnership
Congress finds the following:
The importance of travel and tourism cannot be overstated. Travel and tourism employs America.
Approximately 7,720,000 domestic jobs depend on the travel and tourism industry.
The travel and tourism industry accounts for 2.8 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product.
The travel and tourism industry generates $1,300,000,000,000 in total expenditures.
The travel and tourism industry lost 392,000 jobs in 2009.
In 2009, tourism output declined by $100,000,000,000.
Total direct tourism employment decreased by 0.5 percent in 2010.
Public-private partnerships have been underutilized in the promotion of travel and tourism and are a dynamic tool in creating new domestic tourism markets and promoting domestic regional tourism growth.
Domestic regional tourism grant program
The Secretary shall establish a competitive grant program, to be administered by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, to promote domestic regional tourism growth and new domestic tourism market creation.
Range of grant monetary amounts
The amount of each grant awarded under this section shall be not less than $100,000 and not more than $1,000,000.
Grantee eligibility requirements
Grants may be awarded under this section to—
State tourism offices;
local destination marketing organizations; and
partnerships between a State or local government and local tourism entities.
In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary may consider—
giving priority to regions with low contributions to tourism marketing;
maintaining regional diversity of grant recipients; and
providing benefits to rural and less-marketed destinations.
Use of funds
Grants awarded under this section may be used to—
promote domestic regional tourism growth; and
create new domestic tourism markets.
An eligible entity seeking a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such form, and with such information and assurances as the Secretary may require.
Each application submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include—
a description of the tourist promotion activities to be funded by the grant; and
in the case of a partnership between a State or local government and local tourism entities—
a list of the specific tourist entities that such government has partnered with to promote tourism within the relevant domestic region;
the details of the partnership agreement;
specific information explaining how such partnership will increase regional tourism; and
the anticipated positive impact of the partnership on job creation and employment in the relevant domestic region.
As a condition for receiving a grant under this section, the grant recipient shall provide, either directly or through donations from public or private entities, non-Federal matching funds, in cash or in-kind, in an amount equal to the amount of the grant.
Special rule for in-kind donations
Of the amount of non-Federal matching funds required under paragraph (1), not more than 25 percent may be provided through in-kind contributions.
Not later than 6 months after the last day of each fiscal year in which grants are awarded by the Secretary under this section, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that details—
travel-generated tax receipts; and
In this section:
Local tourist entity
The term local tourist entity means any public or private sector business engaged in tourism-related activities.
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated, for each of the first 5 fiscal years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act, $10,000,000, which shall be used for grants under this section and shall remain available until expended.