Section 14. The office of travel and tourism is hereby directed, subject to appropriation, to establish a program for financial assistance to those public or nonprofit agencies which promote or provide services for tourism, convention, travel and recreation in the commonwealth.
Funds shall be granted to agencies listed in section six of chapter six hundred and thirty-six of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-four with the addition of the Bristol County Development Council, Inc., Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc., North of Boston Tourist Council, Pioneer Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Plymouth County Development Council, Inc., Worcester County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau, the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, Inc., the Hampshire County Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and Northern Middlesex Chamber of Commerce 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 fifteen thousand 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 twenty-five 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 based on, but shall not be limited to, the following criteria:
(1) geographical 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.
No funds may be spent for travel, entertainment, or purchase of equipment under this section.
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 stimulation tourist, convention, visitor and vacation business. The application shall further state, with evidence satisfactory to 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) tourism, after review of the application, shall be satisfied that the program of the agency appears to be in accord with the purpose of this section, and shall authorize the making of a grant to such agency;
(3) the maximum received by a private nonprofit agency shall be no greater than the amount received by that agency from nongovernmental sources.
Any agency receiving funds under this section shall make a report to the house and senate committees on ways and means on the use of said funds at such time and in such form as the executive director of tourism shall specify. The executive director of tourism shall establish guidelines in which to regulate the dispersal of funds under this section.