A few weeks ago, we shared with you changes to the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program at the National Parks, specifically the impact at the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) on our local tour providers. Based on the need for better funding of the National Park, the Park Service is requiring parks to implement new fee structures, in some cases, raising the price to do business on the GNMP by up to 30,000 percent when the structure is fully phased in. This is not the only change at the federal level to the CUA program.
Another proposed change will greatly impact group tours visiting GNMP. Effective October 1, 2019, tour operators selling tours and experiences that include a national park will be required to pay an annual CUA application fee of $300 and an additional $5/person for each guest they bring to the site. That will take a motor coach tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park from $150 - the current fee for the Licensed Battlefield Guide - to $650 for a motor coach of 40 visitors (one group visit per year). This will cause an economic burden and result in a possible decrease in group visitation.
There are several possible scenarios :
Destination Gettysburg has been communicating with the American Bus Association and the National Tour Association, following the lead of these industry organizations who have the pulse of the motor coach industry. At this time, we continue to research the subject and stay up to date on any progress made. However, much like at the local level, without a permanent Director of the National Park or Secretary of the Interior, very little is able to be done.
It is important that each of these departments and our local park understand that this change will have dire effects on our economy and must not become official in October. Please use this list to send letters of support of tourism and our stance that this CUA change should not be implemented. Please use this sample letter to share why this will negatively impact your business.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. We will continue to keep you up to date on this issue and how you can assist.
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