In order to assist in the development and promotion of rural tourism, there is established a charitable and nonprofit corporation to be known as the Rural Tourism Development Foundation (hereafter in this section referred to as the “Foundation”).
The functions of the Foundation shall be the planning, development, and implementation of projects and programs which have the potential to increase travel and tourism export revenues by attracting foreign visitors to rural America. Initially, such projects and programs shall include—
(1)participation in the development and distribution of educational and promotional materials pertaining to both private and public attractions located in rural areas of the United States, including Federal parks and recreational lands, which can be used by foreign visitors;
(2)development of educational resources to assist in private and public rural tourism development; and
(3)participation in Federal agency outreach efforts to make such resources available to private enterprises, State and local governments, and other persons and entities interested in rural tourism development.
(c) Board of Directors
(A)The Foundation shall have a Board of Directors (hereafter in this section referred to as the “Board”) that—
(i)during its first two years shall consist of nine voting members; and
(ii)thereafter shall consist of those nine members plus up to six additional voting members as determined in accordance with the bylaws of the Foundation.
(i)The Secretary of Commerce shall, within six months after September 30, 1992, appoint the initial nine voting members of the Board and thereafter shall appoint the successors of each of three such members, as provided by such bylaws.
(ii)The voting members of the Board, other than those referred to in clause (i), shall be appointed in accordance with procedures established by such bylaws.
(C)The voting members of the Board shall be individuals who are not Federal officers or employees and who have demonstrated an interest in rural tourism development. Of such voting members, at least a majority shall have experience and expertise in tourism trade promotion, at least one shall have experience and expertise in resource conservation, at least one shall have experience and expertise in financial administration in a fiduciary capacity, at least one shall be a representative of an Indian tribe who has experience and expertise in rural tourism on an Indian reservation, at least one shall represent a regional or national organization or association with a major interest in rural tourism development or promotion, and at least one shall be a representative of a State who is responsible for tourism promotion.
(D)Voting members of the Board shall each serve a term of six years, except that—
(i)initial terms shall be staggered to assure continuity of administration;
(ii)if a person is appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term of the person’s predecessor, that person shall serve only for the remainder of the predecessor’s term; and
(iii)any such appointment to fill a vacancy shall be made within sixty days after the vacancy occurs.
(2) Ex-officio members
The Secretary of Commerce and representatives of Federal agencies with responsibility for Federal recreational sites in rural areas (including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tennessee Valley Authority, and such other Federal agencies as the Board determines appropriate) shall be nonvoting ex-officio members of the Board.
The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board shall be elected by the voting members of the Board for terms of two years.
The Board shall meet at the call of the Chairman and there shall be at least two meetings each year. A majority of the voting members of the Board serving at any one time shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Foundation shall have an official seal, which shall be judicially noticed. Voting membership on the Board shall not be deemed to be an office within the meaning of the laws of the United States.
(d) Compensation and expenses
No compensation shall be paid to the members of the Board for their services as members, but they may be reimbursed for actual and necessary traveling and subsistence expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties as such members out of Foundation funds available to the Board for such purposes.
(e) Acceptance of gifts, devises, and bequests
(1) In general
The Foundation is authorized to accept, receive, solicit, hold, administer, and use any gifts, devises, or bequests, either absolutely or in trust, of real or personal property or any income therefrom or other interest therein for the benefit of or in connection with rural tourism, except that the Foundation may not accept any such gift, devise, or bequest which entails any expenditure other than from the resources of the Foundation. A gift, devise, or bequest may be accepted by the Foundation even though it is encumbered, restricted, or subject to beneficial interests of private persons if any current or future interest therein is for the benefit of rural tourism.
A gift, devise, or bequest accepted by the Foundation for the benefit of or in connection with rural tourism on Indian reservations, pursuant to section
451 of title
25, shall be maintained in a separate accounting for the benefit of Indian tribes in the development of tourism on Indian reservations.
Except as otherwise required by the instrument of transfer, the Foundation may sell, lease, invest, reinvest, retain, or otherwise dispose of or deal with any property or income thereof as the Board may from time to time determine. The Foundation shall not engage in any business, nor shall the Foundation make any investment that may not lawfully be made by a trust company in the District of Columbia, except that the Foundation may make any investment authorized by the instrument of transfer and may retain any property accepted by the Foundation.
(g) Perpetual succession; liability of Board members
The Foundation shall have perpetual succession, with all the usual powers and obligations of a corporation acting as a trustee, including the power to sue and to be sued in its own name, but the members of the Board shall not be personally liable, except for malfeasance.
(h) Contractual power
The Foundation shall have the power to enter into contracts, to execute instruments, and generally to do any and all lawful acts necessary or appropriate to its purposes.
(1) In general
In carrying out the provisions of this section, the Board may adopt bylaws, rules, and regulations necessary for the administration of its functions and may hire officers and employees and contract for any other necessary services. Such officers and employees shall be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5 governing appointments in the competitive service and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapters 51 and 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.
The Secretary of Commerce may accept the voluntary and uncompensated services of the Foundation, the Board, and the officers and employees of the Foundation in the performance of the functions authorized under this section, without regard to section
1342 of title
31 or the civil service classification laws, rules, or regulations.
Neither an officer or employee hired under paragraph (1) nor an individual who provides services under paragraph (2) shall be considered a Federal employee for any purpose other than for purposes of chapter
81 of title
5, relating to compensation for work injuries, and chapter
171 of title
28, relating to tort claims.
(j) Exemption from taxes; contributions
The Foundation and any income or property received or owned by it, and all transactions relating to such income or property, shall be exempt from all Federal, State, and local taxation with respect thereto. The Foundation may, however, in the discretion of the Board, contribute toward the costs of local government in amounts not in excess of those which it would be obligated to pay such government if it were not exempt from taxation by virtue of this subsection or by virtue of its being a charitable and nonprofit corporation and may agree so to contribute with respect to property transferred to it and the income derived therefrom if such agreement is a condition of the transfer. Contributions, gifts, and other transfers made to or for the use of the Foundation shall be regarded as contributions, gifts, or transfers to or for the use of the United States.
(k) Liability of United States
The United States shall not be liable for any debts, defaults, acts, or omissions of the Foundation.
(l) Annual report
The Foundation shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each fiscal year, transmit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives an annual report of its proceedings and activities, including a full and complete statement of its receipts, expenditures, and investments.
As used in this section—
(1)the term “Indian reservation” has the meaning given the term “reservation” in section
1452(d) of title
(2)the term “Indian tribe” has the meaning given that term in section
450b(e) of title
(3)the term “local government” has the meaning given that term in section
3371(2) of title
(4)the term “rural tourism” has the meaning given that term by the Secretary of Commerce and shall include activities related to travel and tourism that occur on Federal recreational sites, on Indian reservations, and in the territories, possessions, and commonwealths of the United States.
Section was enacted as part of the Tourism Policy and Export Promotion Act of 1992, and not as part of the International Travel Act of 1961 which comprises this chapter.
1996—Subsec. (c)(1)(B)(i), (2). Pub. L. 104–288substituted “Secretary of Commerce” for “Under Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism”.
Change of Name
Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives treated as referring to Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives by section 1(a) ofPub. L. 104–14, set out as a note preceding section
21 of Title
2, The Congress. Committee on Commerce of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Energy and Commerce of House of Representatives, and jurisdiction over matters relating to securities and exchanges and insurance generally transferred to Committee on Financial Services of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Jan. 3, 2001.
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