NTA President Pam Inman on proposed National Park Service fee increase
October 31, 2017
The National Tour Association and our tour operators have consistently advocated for more funding of America’s national parks. We recognize that additional fees are needed to preserve our natural and culture treasures. While NTA applauds the National Park Service’s proposal to standardize commercial use authorization requirements, NTA has two significant concerns with the recent announcement by the park service to raise fees.
Our primary concern is the lack of a reasonable grace period to fairly and equitably implement the fee increase into tour packages to ensure the increase will not be unduly burdensome on our customers, users of the parks and tour operators. We also are concerned about the reasonableness and size of the proposed increase.
NTA has had a longstanding agreement with the National Park Service that we would be notified 18 months ahead of any entrance fee increases so our members could implement pricing adjustments. This is critical for our members and their customers, as companies book tour groups months in advance. With this recent announcement of the proposal to establish seasonal pricing on 17 of the most visited parks, NTA is concerned how this will impact not only our tour companies but also those area supplier members who serve their travelers.
NTA has formed a coalition with the following industry organizations to express our concerns: USTOA, ABA, UMA, IITA, IMG, OMCA and SYTA. This proposed change has no reasonable implementation period of the fee increase, with only a 30-day public comment period, along with significant hikes in entry fees that could jeopardize the opportunity to sell national park leisure packages. NTA is not against a reasonable fee increase, but we are advocating for a timeline and pricing structure that benefits both the parks’ and association members’ ability to keep park visitation a viable product option.