U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes today issued the following statement:
“The American travel community thanks the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for advancing the Restore Our Parks Act, and hopes that Congress continues to work toward a solution for the $12 billion maintenance backlog that is jeopardizing the long-term viability of our national parks.
“The importance of our national parks extends way beyond their conservation and recreational value—they are also vital hubs of economic activity, driving $40.1 billion in annual spending and 329,000 American jobs. And since the experience of visiting the Grand Canyon, Denali, or Acadia is totally unique and cannot be replicated, national parks attract visitors from all over the world. Overseas visitors are the most lucrative there are, spending about $4,200 per trip to the U.S.—and of the roughly 40 million of those we welcome each year, more than a third visit a national park or monument while they are here.
“The Restore Our Parks Act is a critical step in securing our parks’ infrastructure so that they remain available both for the enjoyment of future generations and to sustain that economic legacy. We thank Senators Portman, Alexander, King and Warner for their leadership in moving this legislation forward, in addition to Senators Murkowski and Manchin for moving this legislation through the committee.”