According to OpenCongress.org, which tracks legislation introduced to the U.S. Congress, Representative Sam Farr (D-California), co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, introduced on Feb. 24, 2010, H. R. 4676, the Travel Regional Investment Partnership (TRIP) Act, which will provide US$50 million (over a five year period) in matching grants to destination marketing organizations and their strategic partners.
To direct the Secretary of Commerce (The Honorable Gary Locke, former Governor of Washington State) to establish a competitive grant program to promote domestic regional tourism.
Excerpts follow from the bill as introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives:
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(3) The United States travel and tourism industry is worth more than $691,000,000,000 annually in direct spending, of which more than 85 percent is the result of domestic travel. Including indirect spending, such industry tops $1,200,000,000,000 in spending.
(6) The current economic downturn has created the most difficult economic environment for the domestic travel and tourism industry since the period following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
(7) The travel and tourism industry has contracted by nearly $130,000,000,000 in 2009 alone. The domestic tourism economy has fallen by nearly 4.5 percent during 2009, twice the rate of the overall economy of the United States.
(8) Domestic spending on travel and tourism has been in decline since the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008, while employment in the travel and tourism industry has been falling since the second quarter of such year.
(9) 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.
Congress finds the following:
SEC. 3. DOMESTIC REGIONAL TOURISM GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) Establishment by Secretary of Commerce- The Secretary of Commerce shall establish a competitive grant program, administered by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, to promote domestic regional tourism growth and new domestic tourism market creation.
(A) SUBMISSION- An eligible entity seeking a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such form, and with such information and assurances as the Secretary may require.
(1) NON-FEDERAL FUNDS- As a condition of receipt of 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.
(g) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated $10,000,000 for each of the first 5 fiscal years that begin after the date of enactment of this section for grants under this section, and such amounts appropriated shall remain available until expended.
Editor’s Note: Track details at http://www.opencongress.org and track H.R. 4676 – The newly introduced (Feb. 24, 2010, in the U.S. House of Representatives) legislation follows in the footsteps of another bill, the Travel Promotion Act, as reported by CNN. Preliminarily, the ATTA views these two legislative concepts promising for the adventure tourism industry, especially if these efforts contribute also to economically depressed, yet culturally and environmentally rich areas in the rural United States.