Texas Restaurant Association leads 10-member coalition in successful bid to create $180 million hospitality and tourism grant program

Oct 19

Austin, TX (Oct. 19, 2021) – The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) applauds the Texas Legislature for adding $180 million to support local hospitality and tourism businesses into SB 8, the federal pandemic relief bill that passed late last night. The hospitality and tourism industry has been devastated by the pandemic, and when this funding became available to Texas from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the TRA was proud to lead a coalition of business groups and their communities to drive support to the industry, as ARPA explicitly allows. Ten groups came together—along with hundreds of Texans who joined our cause—and this morning, it is evident that the Texas Legislature heard our message loud and clear.

“I am so proud that the Texas Restaurant Association led this initiative, which would not have succeeded without the powerful voices of restaurants and many other hospitality and tourism businesses from across the state,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President & CEO of the TRA. “This grant program cannot reverse all of the damage that the industry has suffered during the pandemic, but it will be incredibly meaningful to thousands of restaurants, theaters, distilleries, and other businesses that need a jumpstart to turn the corner and rebuild. Even more than that, by dedicating $180 million to help the hospitality and tourism industry recover, our lawmakers have made an important statement, confirming our state’s commitment to the local businesses that have suffered greatly over the past 18 months and yet continue to struggle because they want to continue to serve their communities. We cannot afford to lose these local businesses, and I’m proud that the investment in SB 8 will go a long way towards protecting the institutions that make Texas so special.”

To add hospitality and tourism grant funding to SB 8, the TRA worked closely with the following organizations: Texas Travel Alliance, Texas Distilled Spirits Association, Theatre Owners of Mid-America, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, Texas Campgrounds, Texas Craft Brewers Guild, NFIB, and Texas Live Events Coalition. Together, these groups represent tens of thousands of local businesses covering every aspect of the hospitality and tourism industry in Texas.

Now SB 8 goes to the Governor’s desk, where he is expected to sign the legislation and finally create the grant program. The TRA and our allies are committed to helping the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism Office distribute the funding to local businesses in a quick, efficient, and equitable way, as the Texas Legislature intended.

About the Texas Restaurant Association

Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) serves as the advocate in Texas and the indispensable resource for the foodservice industry. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry, which is comprised of approximately 50,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA, the Association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 85th anniversary year.

Contact: Kelsey Erickson Streufert,


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