SCHUMER PROMOTES NEW BILL TO FOSTER INNOVATIVE TOURISM INITIATIVES IN SCHOHARIE COUNTY - BILL WILL BE A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR REGION'S TOURISM INDUSTRY
Legislation Will Provide Incentives for Private Groups, like Visitors Bureaus, to Team Up with Local Governments, Not for Profits, and Private Companies to Create World Class Tourist Destinations Recession Has Made States and Local Communities Cut Back on Essential Services that Support Tourism, Like Park Upkeep; Schumer Says New, Innovative Approach NeededSchumer Stands At Howe Caverns to Highlight Bill's Potential for Region, Discusses Legislation
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer unveiled a new proposal to boost New York's tourism industry, one of the largest drivers of the Capital Region's economic growth. Schumer's bill, the Travel Regional Investment Partnership Act (TRIP Act), would work to increase U.S. tourism through the creation of a grant program that would bring together government and the private sector to improve parks, build tourism infrastructure and market tourist destinations. Importantly, the legislation will benefit communities that don't have huge budgets for tourism promotion, like communities in the Capital Region.
Standing at Howe Caverns, a prime example of the economic activity that a tourist destination can produce, Schumer made the case that encouraging further investment through publicprivate partnerships in places like Howe Caverns will help local landmarks like it stay open and allow New York's tourism industry to remain an economic engine.
"The TRIP Act will help improve the region's already great tourist attractions and provide critically needed funding to keep the visitors, and their dollars, coming," Schumer said. "Creating jobs has got to be our number one priority and focusing on tourism is one of the most effective ways of doing that here in Schoharie County and throughout the Capital Region."
The Travel Regional Investment Partnership Act or TRIP Act works to boost the U.S. tourism industry all while taking into account the fiscal challenges that confront states and the federal government. If passed, the legislation would set up a program in the Commerce Department to award grants to local tourist destinations that would allow them to build infrastructure, make improvements and market the destinations. The program would bring together the public and private sector by allowing local tourist attractions to partner up with private partners like a local Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce or local government to pool their resources. The joint plan would then be presented to the Commerce Department where it would be judged for funding against other projects in a competitive process.
The program would allow the Commerce Department to provide a selected project with a matching grant of up to $1 million. Communities in New York will likely be well positioned to compete for these grants since the state already has robust tourism infrastructure and hundreds of potentially interested private investors. The legislation was introduced by Senator Mark Begich (DAK). Schumer is an original cosponsor.
Tourism is New York's second largest industry, producing over $660 billion in economic activity every year. The Capital Region's tourism industry is similarly robust. The industry also represents an incredibly cost effective investment for the state. Passage of the TRIP Act will only mean continued growth for the tourism industry in the Schoharie County, the Capital Region and the entire state.
Howe Caverns is a perfect example of a tourist destination in New York that could benefit from passage of the TRIP Act. Scientists believe that the destination's beautiful caverns began to form nearly 6 million years ago. Every year attracts approximately 200,000 visitors, each paying up to $21 to enter the cavern and spending additional money at the surrounding restaurants, hotels and stores. The TRIP act could help market Howe Caverns to a wider audience, and therefore attract even more visitors.
Schumer added, "Investing in tourism is one of the most costeffective ways to boost New York's economy I'm absolutely committed to doing everything I can to get this legislation passed and making sure that places like Howe Caverns are in the front of the line for these grants."