WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Tour Association applauds the signing into law of the National Park Service Centennial Act by President Barack Obama on Friday, Dec. 16. The National Park Service is a key part of the nation’s cultural and historical foundation, as well as its natural beauty. In addition, the national parks play a vital role in the U.S. economy and in the travel and tourism industry.
The National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 4680) helps to address the $12 billion currently needed for park infrastructure repairs and maintenance, and it provides a greater opportunity to enhance our national parks and visitor programs.
“We are extremely excited to be celebrating the national parks’ 100th anniversary this year, and we support the effort to build on visitors’ experience for another century and beyond,” said Pam Inman, NTA president.
Support for these needs would come partly from establishing dedicated funding for the Centennial Challenge, a public-private partnership that concentrates on visitor-oriented projects at national parks. The bill would additionally establish an endowment focused on long-term fiscal health for the national park system.
Of the many travel markets served by NTA’s 700 tour companies, national parks ranks first, with 71 percent of the association’s tour operators offering park visits to their travelers. Increased funding for the national parks was identified by NTA’s Advocacy Advisory Group as one of the association’s legislative priorities for 2016.
“We are very pleased with the support Congress has put forward to address concerns about the national parks, and we look forward to a continued focus on improving them,” Inman said. “NTA urges the U.S. Senate to also move forward with this legislation.”
NTA actively represents its members in Washington, D.C., and the association annually partners with the U.S. Travel Association and Destination Marketing Association International for Destination Capitol Hill, the industry’s top fly-in event that brings tourism professionals from across the country together to educate policymakers on the importance of travel as an economic driver. Destination Capitol Hill takes place March 28–29, 2017.