SECTION 1. Chapter 23A of the General Laws, as amended by sections 35 to 37, inclusive, of Chapter 240 of the acts of 2010, is hereby amended by striking out section 14, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 14. The office of travel and tourism is hereby directed, in accordance with the Massachusetts Tourism Fund, as established in Section 35J, and subject to appropriation, to establish a grant program for financial assistance to regional tourism promotion agencies.
Funds shall be granted to agencies listed in section 6 of chapter 636 of the acts of 1964 with the addition of the Southeastern Massachusetts Convention and Visitors Bureau, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Central Massachusetts Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Metro West Chamber of Commerce, Johnny Appleseed Trail and Hampshire County Tourism and Visitors Bureau and to any other public or nonprofit agency which has been in operation for two consecutive years prior to application for funds under this section and which spends $15.000 dollars in its fiscal year on tourism or a public or nonprofit agency which has a total budget larger than the average of Massachusetts tourist promotion agencies as estimated by the executive director of tourism and which spends 25 percent of said budget on tourism.
Funds shall be used to strengthen efforts of tourism, convention, travel and recreation agencies to attract and service visitors to the commonwealth and to better manage and distribute the influx of said visitors. The amount of funds received by any one agency shall be in accordance with criteria established by the office of travel and tourism that may based on, but shall not be limited to, the following criteria:
(1) geographic size and population served by such agency;
(2) amount of matching funds from nongovernmental sources;
(3) assurance that the funded proposal will be in addition to the work currently being done by the agency and that the agency will maintain a continued effort of the funded program;
(4) demonstrated effectiveness of agency;
(5) integration of agency's tourism promotion plans with other private and public agency plans; or. No funds may be spent for travel, entertainment, or purchase of equipment under this section;
(6) hotel rooms.
The office of travel and tourism is hereby authorized to make grants to agencies to assist such agencies in planning and carrying out their promotional programs and projects; provided, that before any such grant may be made:
(1) the agency shall have made application to tourism for such grant, and shall have set forth the program proposed to be undertaken for the purpose of encouraging and stimulating tourist, convention, visitor and vacation business. The application shall further state, with evidence satisfactory to the office of travel and tourism, the amount of nongovernmental funds held by or committed or subscribed to the agency for application to the proposals herein described and the amount of the grant for which application is made;
(2) the office of travel and tourism, after review of the application, shall be satisfied that the program of the agency appears to be in accord once with the purpose of this section, and shall authorize the making of a grant to such agency; and
(3) the maximum received by a private nonprofit agency shall be no greater than the amount received by that agency from nongovernmental sources.
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