Statement by NPCA President Tom Kiernan
“We’re pleased that the tourism strategy released today by the Obama Administration notes the extraordinary importance of our national parks, which are among our most loved and visited tourism destinations. Our national parks not only protect and preserve some of America’s most iconic treasures, but serve as some of the most popular American travel destinations for visitors across the world. Investing in our national parks is a direct opportunity to foster tourism while at the same time protecting our national treasures and supporting tourism opportunities for future generations.
“According to Forbes magazine, eight of the top 25 U.S. travel destinations are managed by the National Park Service. And today’s report notes that 20 percent of international travelers seek out national parks as part of their travel itinerary. Yet, places like Yosemite, Gettysburg, and Mesa Verde suffer from a maintenance backlog of more than $11 billion, and they continue to operate with more than $500 million less than they need each year to adequately serve visitors and protect our national treasures.
“National parks directly support more than $31 billion in annual spending and nearly 260,000 jobs nationwide. In a time of economic uncertainty, President Obama’s national travel and tourism strategy provides a strong reason to invest in our parks, which provide affordable vacation destinations for visitors, international and domestic, and benefit local economies.
“As we approach the upcoming centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, we must connect the tremendous power of national parks in our tourism economy with the resources necessary for our parks to serve domestic and international travelers, and flourish as they approach their second century. National parks are investments worth making—in jobs, tourism, and our national heritage.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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