LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Washington, DC, US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. And others, passed a bill authorizing $ 2.25 billion in support of tourism-related businesses that the public deems safe that travel is safe.

The STEP Act – Sustaining Tourism Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic – would modify existing grant programs to directly support the tourism and travel industries to fuel economic recovery and “build public confidence as these industries are in To be reopened in the future ”. According to a press release Thursday from Cortez Masto’s office.

Cortez Masto led Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) And Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) in introducing the legislation.

“As we work to safely reopen our economy, we must do all we can to support those who are driving our hospitality industry forward, including our live entertainment and outdoor recreation areas,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will help our troubled tourism marketing and convention companies and ensure we promote safe travel and tourism for visitors and workers.”

Nevada’s travel and tourism sector has experienced an unprecedented crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The STEP Act would approve $ 2.25 billion in funding through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide grants to tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19. It would also approve a permanent change in EDA-eligible spending to include “travel subsidy” spending, including tourism marketing funding.

Grants are available to all companies that carry out tourism promotion measures. Funding would support:

  • Tourism marketing and promotional activities in support of economic recovery.
  • The costs of providing information on health and safety protection to visitors are to be borne.
  • Payment of cleaning and hygiene costs, including physical alterations, in connection with precautionary measures to ensure a safe work, travel or event environment.
  • Payment of salaries and expenses related to the business of applicants, excluding industrial executives.

Blunt, Kobuchar and Cramer discussed the needs of their own states for help with tourism recovery.

“The travel and tourism industry – an important part of our state’s economy – has been devastated by the pandemic,” said Blunt. “The STEP Act is using an existing program to provide much-needed support to tourism-related businesses while our economy is back in full swing. As co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Committee, I will continue to advocate guidelines to ensure our destinations and convention centers weather this crisis and are ready to welcome visitors back as quickly and safely as possible. “

“From Lake Superior to the Mall of America, Minnesota is home to extraordinary tourist destinations. However, with travel restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism industry has been particularly hard hit,” said Klobuchar. “I am proud to support this legislation that will help organizations that promote travel and tourism, and I will continue to work hard to get the tourism industry back on its feet during this difficult time.”

“As a former North Dakota director of tourism, I know how much states rely on tourism for jobs and funding, but this important industry could be one of the last to fully recover from the effects of COVID-19,” Cramer said. “The STEP Act is leveraging an existing grant program to give direct support to troubled travel and tourism businesses and give them more opportunities to show Americans that they are safe to reopen.”