As America prepares to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, Tourism Cares has announced the Centennial Tour Operator Program (CTOP), providing tour operators a meaningful way to give back and to engage their guests in supporting the parks.
Tourism Cares will launch CTOP in spring 2015, through a national conference call with industry professionals, and promote CTOP and volunteer programs through 2016 via multiple channels, including social media, press releases, and ads in trade publications.
"The national parks are such vitally important demand drivers for the tourism industry," said Mike Rea, CEO of Tourism Cares. "The Centennial Tour Operator Program is an easy and effective way for the industry to give back to the National Park Service on its birthday."
Here's how the program works:
- Tour operators share their program participation in marketing materials (featuring a custom branded CTOP badge).
- Tour operators donate a minimum of $2 per passenger on 2016 tours entering a U.S. national park.
- Funds will be used by Tourism Cares to support parks across the country.
Thanks to its partnership with the National Parks Foundation, Tourism Cares will donate 10,000 hours of volunteer time at five National Parks Service sites through 2016, helping preserve and protect destinations for future generations.
"We're proud to lead the way as the very first participant in the CTOP program," said John Stachnik, president of Mayflower Tours. "As Mayflower Tours marks thirty years of commitment to the parks and thirty-six years of operation, it's natural to give back."
Rea said the following statistics really illustrate how important the National Park Service is to the industry:
- National parks generate roughly $14.6 billion in annual spending in local gateway regions, driving 238,000+ jobs.
- Annual visitor spending includes $4.4 billion on lodging, $2.9 billion in restaurants, $1.1 billion in groceries, and $403 million in retail sales.
"Supporting NPS is simply good for your company and good for the industry," Rea added. "And the Centennial Tour Operator Program is a great way to make a difference and engage your customers."