Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to amend the Small Business Act to enable destination marketing organizations to become eligible for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sponsored the bill.

DMOs were excluded from PPP eligibility when Congress passed the Cares Act due to their nonprofit or quasi-governmental designation. 

The U.S. Travel Association, which has long lobbied for DMO inclusion in the PPP, called the legislation “a smart move.” 

“DMOs are critical engines for local and regional economic development, without which an economic recovery will fall well short of its full potential,” said U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “Small businesses -- which comprise 83% of travel-related companies -- will suffer if their local DMOs do not survive long enough to assist with a recovery. DMOs are charged with driving visitors to hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions -- priceless support for mom-and-pop establishments that do not have robust marketing budgets of their own.

“DMOs are also the primary attractors and facilitators for conventions and large events, which are huge generators of jobs and economic activity. Perhaps most vitally, DMOs are essential for driving demand to lesser-known parts of the country, leveling the playing field with large municipalities that are already well-branded as leisure and business travel destinations.”

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