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Grant program would boost Maine tourism, hospitality

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021 at 12:00 am MDT

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine might create a grant program designed to help the state’s tourism and hospitality industries, which have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Sen. Joe Rafferty of Kennebunk has introduced a proposal that would allow tourism and hospitality businesses that lost revenue due to the pandemic to apply for the grants. Rafferty said the grants would be financed by federal money Maine has received this year.

Rafferty said the tourism industry in the state “makes up for a massive part of our economy, but an even larger part of who we are.” He cited the license plates in the state that say “Vacationland.”

One in six jobs in Maine is linked to the tourism industry, Rafferty said. The industry accounts for more than 10% of the state economic output at $6.2 billion annually, he said.

The proposal will face votes in legislative committee.

The Associated Press