The legislature on Tuesday heard a proposed bill that would transfer control of the Tourist Attraction Fund program to the board of the Guam Visitors Bureau.
If Bill 47-36 is enacted into law, GVB will be able to entertain grant applications from a wider pool of qualified applicants and it will even the playing field, allowing more nonprofits and government agencies to apply for TAF funding.
In addition, the funding program for government and nonprofit organizations will be fully administered by the bureau.
Gerry Perez, GVB vice president, says that the bureau supports the intent of the bill
Perez noted that in FY 2020, there were 17 nonprofit organizations that received $640,000 in direct pass-through appropriations that GVB dispersed in a ministerial capacity.
He also noted the challenges with funding programs under TAF in the current funding cycle as the tourism industry is trying to restore its financial revenues.
“I think the key issue here is not as much as the availability of funds. That is occurring right now as GVB is functioning at 35 percent of its budget. So we are barely scraping along…that money has to come from someplace such as the Tourist Attraction Fund, which was decimated and would take time to build up again,” Perez said.
Sen. Tony Ada, the author of the legislation, says should the bill become law, every coming fiscal year, GVB will now have the authority to grant funding in their capacity as grant gatekeeper, but the application process would still be the same.