U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement upon the House's passage of H.R. 4680, the National Park Service Centennial Act:
"I am pleased to see that the National Park Service Centennial Act has joined other excellent pieces of travel-friendly legislation passed in the final days of the 114th Congress. The U.S. travel industry welcomes this legislation, and the good it will do for 'America's best idea,' our national parks and monuments.
"Beyond simply housing natural wonders and cultural treasures, U.S. national parks and monuments are a boon for our nation's economic health. The money that visitors to our park system spend fuels local economies, particularly the 'gateway' regions within 60 miles of a park. Last year, this revenue supported more than 295,000 American jobs. What better reason to invest in improving and preserving our National Parks during their centennial year?
"While the passed bill did not include every provision we hoped for, particularly in the realm of funding, we are heartened by the removal of language that would have charged a 5 percent camping and lodging fee per person for each night visitors stayed at a national park. Any measure that reduces the burden on travelers will likely increase visitation—and the resulting economic benefits will ripple across the U.S. economy, from the local to the national level.
"I extend my sincere thanks to Congressman Rob Bishop for introducing this bill, and to House leadership and the House Committees on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Education and the Workforce for expeditiously passing it."
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.4 trillion in economic output and supports 15.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit www.ustravel.org.