McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Two Texas congressmen have proposed a bipartisan bill to help boost tourism in the United States and Mexico, which has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from South Texas, and Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin, on Thursday proposed the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act.

If passed, it would improve governmental cooperation between both countries to help invigorate tourism disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tourism between our two countries is a critical economic driver for our state’s economy, especially in South Texas. The United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act will build a more resilient tourism economy post COVID-19 by bolstering tourism between our two countries and strengthening our relationship with our southern neighbor,” Cuellar said in a statement.

“It is essential that we work closely with our southern neighbor to promote this industry in a way that is mutually beneficial. I am proud to introduce this important legislation with my colleague Congressman Cuellar to reinvigorate the tourism industry in both the U.S. and Mexico,” McCaul said.

In 2021 there was a 42% drop in Mexican tourism rates for nationals traveling to the United States compared to 2019, their offices said.

If passed, this bill would improve bilateral tourism between both countries; prompt joint promotional efforts for both countries and prioritize and expand the hospitality, retail and cultural education sectors of both countries.

On Saturday, a select group of leaders from Texas and the Rio Grande Valley are planning an excursion to Reynosa, Mexico, at the request of the city’s mayor, as part of a new Cultural Corridor Initiative also designed to boost tourism on the border between both countries.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com