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In its last week in session before the August recess, the Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Mary Landrieu (D-La.) aimed at boosting tourism revenue for rural small businesses. Senator Landrieu, Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, stated that "the tourism industry remains largely untapped for small rural firms" and created the legislation--now dubbed the 'Landrieu Amendment'--to aid coordination efforts by the federal government to deliver tax dollars to rural America.
A reported 1 of every 18 Americans works in travel and tourism, making the sector a burgeoning area of growth and opportunity. Agritourism-- the trend of vacationing at farms or ranches and engaging in planting, wine-making, animal-feeding, and other farm chores-- continues to grow and attract new business. Additionally, agritourism is ripe for technological advances such as access to broadband. Federal assistance programs addressing these rural small business issues are currently not housed in the same place, and instead are spread amongst various agencies. The Landrieu Amendment aims to foster coordination between federal agencies and programs by requiring a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on improving the tourism potential for rural small business.
According to the Landrieu Amendment, the GAO report would be tasked with: