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Ting Legislation Aiding Tourism Industry Advances

For immediate release:

Sacramento - Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) won support for legislation today that would protect California’s tourism industry by ensuring the viability of Tourism Marketing Districts (TMDs) and other Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).  The measure, AB 483, passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a bi-partisan vote of 7 – 0.

TMDs and BIDs have been critical to the success of the tourism industry, especially during the recent economic downturn when support for this industry --that previously was provided by local governments – dried up due to budget constraints.  However, the 2010 passage of voter-approved Proposition 26 created potential legal uncertainty over these Districts’ ability to privately fund tourism marketing and promotional activities.

"Tourism is the economic backbone of many communities across California,” Ting said.  “This legislation provides needed legal clarity so that vital support provided by marketing districts can continue to support our travel industry.”

More than 200 million tourists visit California annually, spending an estimated $106 billion at hotels, restaurants, small businesses and attractions.  Economic activity related to tourism supports 917,000 jobs and generates $6.6 billion in tax revenue.

TMDs and BIDs are voluntarily formed by businesses to impose an assessment on themselves to privately fund tourism promotion efforts.  In response to the ambiguity created by a lack of defined terms in Prop. 26, AB 483 clarifies that any incidental benefit from a TMD or BID to a business located outside a district’s boundary does not violate the law.  AB 483 does not alter the intent or provisions of Prop. 26.

“The San Francisco Tourism Improvement District (TID) provides the framework that attracts 16.5 million visitors who spend almost $9 billion and support more than 74,000 jobs here,” said Jon Ballesteros, Vice President of Public Policy, San Francisco Travel Association.   “AB 483 will protect our TID and allow us to continue to attract visitors, leverage jobs and expand economic activity in Northern California.”

AB 483 is supported by the California Travel Association, the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Travel, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Council of San Francisco, California Hotel and Lodging Association and dozens of other convention and visitors’ bureaus.  AB 483 next will be voted on by the full Senate.