WASHINGTON -- The Travel Industry Association (TIA), in cooperation
with the National Park Service and the National Parks Foundation,
is preparing a major marketing campaign to raise awareness of and
encourage visits to U.S. national parks.
The campaign, called "See America's National Parks," will
officially kick off in April. Its centerpiece will be a Web site --
accessible through www.seeamerica.org, the TIA's travel search engine --
which will link to a micro-site featuring information on national
parks and tours.
Ads promoting the site and the parks will appear starting next
spring in USA Today and the Sunday Times of London.
In the meantime, the TIA is "fast and furiously working with the
National Tour Association to load into our Web site all of the
various tours and packages its members offer," said Betsy O'Rourke,
the TIA's senior vice president of marketing and
O'Rourke said the TIA is "calling on the industry to develop
itineraries of interest that include national parks, particularly
out of gateway cities" and geared to both U.S. and inbound
She said the TIA intends to link the package information to the
"We will be able to search all of the existing [operator] Web
sites plus add our own content," O'Rourke said.
She said a key goal of the campaign is to "explain the breath
and diversity of the park system," noting that many travelers are
familiar with Yellowstone and other major parks but often are
unaware that there may be a national park in their own
"As wonderful as our icon parks are, there are many Americans
and international visitors who have no idea that there are 388
parks and historic places within the National Park System,"
O'Rourke said. "Many of those are an easy drive from a gateway
The campaign also will promote "responsible tourism" by
emphasizing the National Park Pass, which offers a year's admission
to all national parks for $50. The proceeds go into a fund for park
renovation and preservation.
In addition, plans call for a public relations campaign in North
America, Europe, Asia and South America and a sweepstakes.
To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].