Last week, the National Park Service (NPS) withdrew plans to increase commercial tour entrance fees, and will not implement a nationwide commercial use authorization (CUA) requirement for road-based commercial tours in national parks. Individual parks may still charge CUA fees.
Since the proposed changes were announced, U.S. Travel has been working with the NPS to ease the burden on the commercial tour operators and gateway communities who have suffered economic losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We have long argued that imposing additional fees on vulnerable travel businesses could prolong America’s overall recovery efforts, and are pleased by the agency’s ultimate decision not to move forward with the changes.
When the time is right, national parks will be crucial to getting the travel industry—and the broader American economy—moving again. In 2018 alone, 318 million NPS visitors spent more than $20 billion in and around the parks, helping to support more than 329,000 American jobs.
We commend the NPS for recognizing the urgent need to eliminate impediments to the travel industry’s recovery, and we will continue to support the agency in its preparations to welcome back visitors.