Over the course of the next several months, Destination Gettysburg met with these businesses to determine a more reasonable rate structure and roll out date. After meeting with local Park staff, we all agreed that the Park should receive more than the current collections, but not to the level that would be collected at the maximum allowable, which was the proposal. The group proposed a reduced structure of 1-1.6 percent of gross revenue.
GNMP followed up with the group with their updated decision. They would allow the 1-1.6 percent starting in October 2019, but that would only be in year one. By year three, they would be requiring the full 3-5 percent. Our local businesses currently provide a service to our visitors that the National Park cannot provide. These businesses assist the park rangers in sharing an accurate description of what happened on our hallowed grounds. If these rates come to fruition, we may not have these amazing experiences to offer our visitors.
The Gettysburg Times recently reported on this issue. The article, "Negative impact expected from NPS fee hike," discusses this issue and a secondary issue that will also impact our tourism industry.
In addition to raising rates on our local CUA holders, the National Park Service will roll out on October 1, 2019, a new fee structure for businesses bringing motor coach tours to any National Park site. Each operator will be required to pay a $300 annual application fee per park and $5/person for each visitor on their coach. This means our once free Park experience will require a fee for anyone traveling by motor coach - a segment that drives approximately 15,000 motor coaches annually to our destination. The same segment that helps fill our accommodations, restaurants, tours and attractions, and more.
We are asking our partners to help us share the word that these fees cannot become reality. Here are ways that you can help:
- Share the Gettysburg Times article - We have sponsored the article which allows non-subscribers to read the article and help share the information. We encourage members to share the link on social media.
- Send a letter - We have drafted a sample letter that you can send to our politicians and National Park staff locally and regionally. Download the sample letter and a list of contacts to mail your letter to by clicking here.
- Keep Destination Gettysburg in the loop - if you work with motor coach groups and hear that they are looking at alternative experiences or destinations, let us know. We want to help keep that business here.