SECTION 1. Chapter 10 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section 35VV. There is hereby established and set up on the books of the Commonwealth a separate fund known as the Massachusetts Special Events Marketing Program (hereafter referred to as “the program”), into which shall be deposited two and a half percent of the revenues received from the tax imposed by section three of chapter sixty-four G, and section twenty-two of chapter five hundred and forty-six of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-nine.
Said fund shall be administered by the office of travel and tourism (hereafter referred to as “the department”), and shall be the funding source to support special events whose purpose is to attract out-of-state and international visitors to all regions of the Commonwealth.
For purposes of definition in this section, an “out-of-state and/or international visitor” is defined as a person who travels 50 or more miles one way to a Massachusetts’ destination or who stays overnight.
SECTION 2. All activities of the department in regard to the program shall be coordinated with applicable regional tourism promotion agencies to execute specific marketing and advertising plans to attract out-of-state and international visitors while allowing event organizers and impacted municipalities the opportunity to develop funding mechanisms for operations, logistics, public safety and security costs.
The department shall promulgate guidelines and regulations regarding the disbursement of funds for the program. In developing said guidelines and regulations, the department shall ensure that:
(a) No more than fifteen percent of the total award may be used for public safety and security expenses;
(b) No more than 20 percent of the total award may be used for administration including professional service fees, such as legal, accounting and event management;
(c) Priority may be given to new initiatives that occur during typically slow time periods for tourism activity; and
(d) All event funds awarded by the program shall be presumed to continue appropriation into the next fiscal year without reauthorization.
SECTION 3. All applicants to the program must receive the written endorsement for allocation of funds by the applicable regional tourism promotion agency. The Department may create applications and written documentation to support the application procedure.
Program applicants must meet the following criteria:
(a) The organization must be a Massachusetts Registered 501(c)6 or 501(c)3 organization;
(b) The event has the potential to generate a 2:1 return on grants received from visitor spending;
(c) Grantees that are able to raise a 1:1 dollar match from private sources will have priority for program funds;
(d) At least fifty percent of marketing activities from the grant must be promotional and focused on providing travel information that is associated with the event; and
(e) Grantees must have a formal partnership with the impacted regional tourism promotion agency as well as regional collaborations for promotional effort.
SECTION 4. The program will be administered by the department in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations including final approval of all grant decisions. The department will be responsible for managing the grant review process. This includes distributing guidelines for the program, offering technical assistance to applicants and reviewing grant applications.
A seven person advisory committee will be created and consist of the following: the executive director of the department and six members appointed by the Governor who will represent different geographic regions of the state including Greater Boston, North of Boston, South of Boston, Cape Cod and the Islands, the Berkshires and the Merrimack Valley. The purpose of this advisory committee is to work in collaboration with the department in reviewing grant applications. The final determination of which shall be with the department.
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