Tennessee Adventure Tourism Applications to Open April 17

Adventure Tourism applications open April 17-June 30, 2017 for communities seeking to become certified as adventure tourism districts pursuant to the Tennessee Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011. The act allows certain tourism-related businesses within adventure tourism districts to qualify for a jobs tax credit.

In a bill sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager, the Tennessee Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 defines Adventure Tourism as outdoor recreational opportunities such as equine and motorized trail riding, white water rafting and kayaking, rappelling, road biking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, spelunking, shooting sports, mountain biking, canoeing, paragliding, ziplining and other such tourist and recreational activities.

Applications to designate an area as an Adventure Tourism District must include a resolution from the local governing body authorizing creation of the district, a parcel map of the proposed district including parcel numbers, a business plan that must be based on “quantifiable data demonstrating that the creation of an adventure tourism district would enhance sustainable economic development in the area,” (T.C.A. § 11-11-204b) and a notarized letter from the local government mayor or executive which confirmed their plan. An entire county cannot be designated as one district.

Approved applications will receive certification for a period of three years. Upon expiration of the three year period, local governments must submit a new application for certification. Those communities already certified will be extended until April 16, 2018, and then will be required to submit a new application to continue subject to applicable requirements.

An online website is available during this period to receive applications.  All interested local governments must submit their completed applications to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development by June 30, 2017. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/tourism/topic/adventure-tourism.

Note: No applicants will receive designation until after July 1, 2017 due to recent legislative action: Taxes, Exemption and Credits - As enacted, allows certain part-time and seasonal adventure tourism jobs, with or without minimum health care, created in adventure tourism districts on or after July 1, 2017, to be counted as half a job for purposes of allowing the employer to qualify for the jobs tax credit against franchise and excise taxes. - Amends TCA Title 11, Chapter 11, Part 2 and Title 67.

Address any questions regarding the Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 or the application process to Ramay Winchester at 615-975-4237 or ramay.w.winchester@tn.gov.