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Reps. Titus, Yakym Introduce Legislation to Establish Grants for Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Sectors

Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), Ranking Member of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, introduced legislation with Congressman Rudy Yakym (R-IN) to promote economic development by strengthening the tourism, hospitality, events, and outdoor recreation sectors.

The INVEST in Our Communities Act, by establishing a new Hospitality and Outdoor-Recreation Supporting Tourism (HOST) program at the Economic Development Administration (EDA), would help local planners in areas tied to the tourism economy build resiliency to future economic uncertainties, improve infrastructure for outdoor recreation, and invest in workforce development programs to help fill the nearly 1.2 million open positions in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

“At the height of the pandemic Southern Nevada had the highest unemployment rate of any large metro area in the country, due in large part to sustained declines in our tourism and hospitality industries. Few were traveling, and then only for emergencies. Airplanes were empty, hotels and restaurants were closed, and entertainment venues were shuttered. This negatively impacted employment, local government revenues, and economic development in areas around the country that rely heavily on tourism. Our legislation will ensure that U.S. travel and tourism industries can continue on the path to recovery while building resiliency to future economic shocks and public health emergencies,” said Rep. Titus.

“Encouraging infrastructure investment in America’s Great Outdoors is part and parcel to a thriving outdoor recreation industry. I am proud to partner with Congresswoman Titus on this important bipartisan legislation that will help support manufacturers and Hoosier jobs right here in Indiana’s Second District,” said Rep. Yakym.

“The INVEST in Our Communities Act includes provisions that will strengthen our efforts to diversify the Greater Vegas Economy. The legislation's focus on capacity building and planning assistance is particularly critical for organizations like ours to compete with other metropolitan areas and attract new businesses and support our existing companies' growth,” said Tina Quigley, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Last fiscal year the EDA sent more than $50 million to Nevada, including funds Rep. Titus helped secure through the American Rescue Plan for communities affected by decreased tourism because of the pandemic. Her new legislation builds on those efforts by creating a permanent program at the EDA that recognizes the importance of travel and tourism for economic development. This will ensure that the tourism sector and ancillary small businesses can continue toward a full recovery while also insulating them from future economic disruptions and public health emergencies.

In addition to the HOST program, the bill creates a new Capacity Building Grant Program that will help communities like Las Vegas conduct predevelopment activities, including executing comprehensive economic development strategies and community asset mapping.  The bill also increases the federal cost share for communities impacted by disasters as well as for additional tribal organizations, thus ensuring parity with other units of government.

This bill is similar to companion legislation that will soon be introduced by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

More information on the INVEST in Our Communities Act can be found here.