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NTA and the American Recreation Coalition Team up for Scenic Byways Pilot Project

January 30, 2007

NTA and the American Recreation Coalition Team up for Scenic Byways Pilot Project
Jan. 30, 2007 – The National Tour Association joins the American Recreation Coalition in an innovative program that will bring the technology era to one of the United State’s most historic roads. The two groups will participate in a pilot project that will make multi-lingual digital commentary about features along the George Washington Memorial Parkway located on the Potomac River available for free on the Internet in Mp3 format.


"NTA and the ARC have been vested in the Scenic Byways since its inception more than 15 years ago," said NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian. "We are proud to be a part of this new program that will provide downloadable interpretive information for tour operators and their customers. We hope that this project will eventually be available to use for trips along all 30,000 miles of our nationally designated scenic byways."


NTA and ARC will work with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration and others on this pilot program to create audio guides for the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The parkway itself connects many historic and cultural features, including Mount Vernon and the Old Town district of Alexandria. Other loops will be added, such as a loop of Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House. The project is to assist the National Park Service Centennial Challenge, which is designed to increase NPS visitor services and satisfaction by 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.


"The conversion of information now available only in brochures into a format of greater utility to today’s travelers, whether traveling as individuals or as groups, will help promote the Scenic Byway Program," said Derrick Crandall, ARC president. "In many cases, the travelers already possess a medium for this new information stream, iPods and Mp3 players. More than 60 million iPods are now in the hands of Americans."


The National Scenic Byways program was created in 1991 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. NTA was an early proponent of the program and successfully lobbied for its creation. The program is a grassroots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. Since 1992, the program has provided funding for over 2,100 state and nationally designated projects in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.


"Once available, this will be a wonderful tool for NTA tour operators," said Jim Santini, NTA Legislative Counsel. "We were founding partners of this resounding national program that created many new travel and tour marketing opportunities nationwide, and we are confident this new program will revitalize our Scenic Byways once again."


The National Tour Association was established in 1951 as a unified voice to fight legislation in the newly formed packaged travel industry. Today, NTA’s government relations activities include monitoring security issues, as well as state and federal legislation and regulatory issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. NTA maintains full-time representation in Washington, D.C., to serve as the association’s voice on Capitol Hill. Additionally, NTA empowers its members to be advocates for the association on the local level, as well as to provide support for NTA’s positions on national priority issues through its Grassroots Action Network. For more information on NTA’s government relations activities, please visit or call 800.682.8886.


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