What is the Regional Tourism Act?
Purpose of the legislation
The Regional Tourism Act promotes diversification of the state’s economic base by providing a financing mechanism for attracting, constructing and operating large-scale regional tourism projects, which include tourism or entertainment facilities that will attract significant investment and revenue from outside the state. Tourism or entertainment facilities include but are not limited to museums, stadiums, arenas, major sports facilities, performing arts theaters, theme or amusement parks, conference centers or resort hotels or other similar venues that draw a significant number of regional, national or international patrons.
The Regional Tourism Act establishes a program that gives local governments the opportunity to apply to the EDC for approval of large-scale regional tourism projects with tourism or entertainment facilities in regional tourism zones that:
- are of an extraordinary and unique nature,
- are anticipated to result in a substantial increase in out-of-state tourism, and
- generate a significant portion of their sales tax revenue from transactions with nonresidents of the regional tourism zone.
- the local government must provide reliable economic data demonstrating that in the absence of state sales tax increment revenue, the project is not reasonably anticipated to be developed within the foreseeable future.
The EDC can approve two projects per year for three years through the RTA and shall not approve any project that would create a state sales tax revenue dedication of more than $50 million to all projects in any given year.