Rep. Dylan Roberts introduces bill for meeting and events incentive program
State Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) has introduced a bipartisan bill aiming to help revitalize meetings and events, of one of Colorado’s economic sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
House Bill 21-1263 would create the Colorado Meeting and Events Incentive Program under the Colorado Tourism Office to provide rebates and direct support to eligible events across the state between July 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022.
Eligible events could include meetings, conferences, or festivals, or even weddings, family reunions or other personal events, that generate at least 25 paid overnight stays in a motel, hotel, vacation rental, or other lodging establishment and can demonstrate a significant economic benefit for a host community in Colorado.
The temporary program would offer rebates of up to 10% for hard costs associated with hosting events and a rebate of up to 25% for costs associated with making the event compliant with health orders or other mandates issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to reduce the financial burden of hosting safe and compliant events.
A state stimulus package has allocated $10 million of existing state funds for this program.
According to Roberts, the proposed program will make rebates and direct support available equitably and proportionally across the state, prioritizing events with the most significant economic impact.
“This is an exciting bill for Coloradans and particularly for our tourism-based economy in Colorado’s mountain communities,” Roberts said in a news release announcing the bill’s introduction. “We are all looking forward to going back to concerts and festivals, attending events at our local hotels and event centers, and meeting in person with our family, friends and neighbors. This bill will directly incentivize the return and revival of Colorado’s travel and tourism economy, create jobs and provide some much needed relief to one of the most impacted industries in our state.“
The bill has been assigned to the House Business Affairs Committee and is being cosponsored by Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta), Sen. Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver) and Sen. Dennis Hisey (R-El Paso).
According to Roberts, the proposed program will help planners book events and help ensure they are not canceled or delayed. That will benefit workers in the arts and cultural production sector, which saw about one-third of its jobs disappear during the pandemic, as well as ancillary businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and brick and mortar retail, that stand to profit from the return of conferences, concerts, weddings and other events.
“We enthusiastically support the proposed Meeting and Event Incentive Program, which will help lead Colorado’s economic recovery,” Chris Romer, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership said in a news release. “Colorado’s tourism sector was among the hardest hit and most impacted from COVID related restrictions and this program will help provide a jump start to the meetings and events industry. This is an important initiative and a great start to support our economic recovery efforts.”