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Shutdown - Tour Operators Write Open Letter to President ObamaOctober 8, 2013 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Tour operators face 'severe uncertainty' due to the partial shutdown of the federal government and national parks system, says Steve Richer, NTA public affairs advocate in the NTA's Daily Update on the crisis.
"Tour operators are already seeing cancellations, difficulty in replacing federal-site elements in their itineraries, and other results that are hurting their bottom lines," says Richer.
The NTA also joined with a dozen major industry associations in an appeal to President Obama to end the crises, now entering its second week.
Tourism to the United States is down with travel warnings, based on the shutdown, issued by the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia, Richer notes.
"We know also about the level of disappointment experienced by the Chinese visitors and certainly others, which will only spread and cause further cancellations and reduced visitation if not corrected shortly," he notes.
"We now are at an impossible place, as neither side seems willing to give an inch publicly," Washington D.C.-based Richer says.
"However, there are still a couple of signs for limited optimism. Other prognosticators, including Roger Dow at U.S. Travel, have suggested that outstanding issues will still be resolved this week," Richer notes in his analysis.
"The open movement of major institutional players, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, into actively pushing for the 'clean' continuing resolution and 'clean' debt ceiling increase - which might end the impasse - is one sign of optimism," Richer says.
Throughout the government shutdown, NTA has posted updates supplied by Richer and NTA is posting updates submitted by NTA members regarding the impact of the shutdown in their area, including alternative activities for tour operators to consider when revising itineraries.
In a letter to President Obama, the NTA joined with 12 other industry associations urging an end to the shutdown.
"The shutdown needs to be ended swiftly and a lesson learned. Please find a way to resolve issues on budgets and other national issues without imposing unjustified, unnecessary pain on the rest of the nation. We ask your help in making certain that the pain resulting from closures of and budget cuts for our parks and other public lands ends quickly."
Participants included the America Outdoors Association, American Hiking Society, American Recreation Coalition, American Society of Travel Agents, Association of Partners for Public Lands, Destination Marketing Association International, National Park Hospitality Association, National Parks Conservation Association, National Tour Association, Southeast Tourism Society, The Corps Network, and the US Travel Association.