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Meetings and events bill signed by Polis

June 15, 2021, 4:13 pm

Colorado House Democrats on Tuesday issued the following press release on the signature by Gov. Jared Polis of a bill sponsored by Avon state Rep Dylan Roberts meant to bolster the state’s hard-hit group meetings and events sector:

On Monday, June 14, 2021, Gov. Polis signed into law HB21-1263, a bill introduced by Rep. Dylan Roberts (Eagle & Routt Counties) to incentivize the economic revitalization of one of Colorado’s hardest hit sectors — meetings and events.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle
State Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon

HB21-1263 creates the Colorado Meeting and Events Incentive program to provide rebates and direct support to eligible events across the state between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. The program, which will be under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Tourism Office, will offer rebates of up to 10% for the 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. To be eligible for the rebate, an event must be responsible for twenty-five or more hotel nights booked. 

The bill – now law – allocates $10 million of existing state funds for the program. The program will make rebates and direct support available equitably and proportionally across the state while prioritizing events with the most significant economic impact. 

“Everyone can see that Colorado is an incredible place to host a conference, festival, wedding and much more,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “This bill will help jump-start our tourism economy by helping to make Colorado the first choice for anyone looking for a place to host an event. I’m grateful Governor Polis has signed this bill into law that will help our restaurants, hotels, bars and so many other small businesses that are connected to the events and meetings industry as well.”

“We enthusiastically support the Meetings & Event Incentive Program, which will help lead Colorado’s economic recovery,” said Chris Romer, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership. “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 & events industry. This is an important initiative and a great start to support our economic recovery efforts.”

In 2019, Colorado’s arts and cultural production accounted for 4.1% of the Colorado economic output, contributing 108,462 jobs. Since the onset of the pandemic, approximately one third of all jobs in the Colorado creative economy have disappeared. By encouraging the production of meetings, concerts, conventions, festivals and other events that generate business and revenue for Colorado communities, jobs in the creative economy will return. The ancillary businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and brick and mortar retail, stand to profit from the return of meetings and events, like conferences, concerts, and weddings.

“The event and wedding industry has been decimated over the past year,” said Kara Stoller, chief executive officer of the Steamboat Chamber. “Securing financial assistance for this industry is critical and will benefit not only event and wedding related businesses but many ancillary businesses.” 

Establishing a meeting and events incentives program will encourage planners to book events and help ensure that planned events are not cancelled or delayed. The program presents an opportunity for significant economic benefit for communities across Colorado and for Colorado’s travel and tourism industries, which play an essential role in the state’s economy. The predictable and significant revenues from events will also help build Colorado’s market share for meetings and event-based tourism. 

“This is an exciting bill for Coloradans and particularly for our tourism-based economy in Colorado’s mountain communities,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts. “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.”

HB21-1263 was co-sponsored with Roberts by Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta), Sen. Robert Rodriguez (D-Denver), and Sen. Dennis Hisey (R-El Paso). It passed the House 48-15 and the Senate 35-0. 

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