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GUMBO touts passage of major tourism legislation

This week marked some major victories for Alabama’s tourism industry with the passage of two major pieces of legislation.

The Dram Shop Bill and the Sweet Home Alabama Tourism Investment Act, a new provision of the Jobs Act, were both signed into law this week.

Both bills were major priorities for the Gulf United Metro Business Organization (GUMBO), a coalition of local business leaders who are committed to the growth and development of south Baldwin County.

“The tourism incentives are a major victory that will open up new opportunities for companies to continue developing tourism destination projects across Alabama, and the Dram Shop Bill is a perfect example of common sense legislation that creates a more attractive business environment for owners,” said GUMBO Chair Penny Groux.

GUMBO’s first legislative success included Wednesday’s passage and governor’s signature on the Dram Shop Bill, a liquor liability bill that received major support from the restaurant and hospitality, retail, and tourism industries. The new law, which took effect immediately, seeks to bring common sense insurance reform and increased personal responsibility to situations where damages have taken place due to overconsumption of alcohol. The law is designed to help drive down the cost of liquor liability insurance for restaurant and bar owners.

The Sweet Home Alabama Tourism Investment Act, a substantial new provision of the Jobs Act, allows for tourism incentives for large destination projects.

“It is exciting to see our state and leaders take steps to recognize and further grow our tourism industry,” said Groux. “At GUMBO, we believe that tourism is economic development and whenever we bring out-of-state visitors to Alabama, the whole state benefits.”

GUMBO has been advocating for the inclusion of tourism incentives since its inception 20 years ago. The new provision replaces current language in the Jobs Act that incentivizes tourism to make the program more attractive to potential tourism destination developers.

“This process was a great example of GUMBO’s successful influence in Montgomery throughout the entirety of this bill’s life span,” said Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine). “I am proud of the efforts shown by all parties involved and look forward to seeing what results these new incentives will garner for our state and the tourism industry.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Richardson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News.

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