The Tourism Program of the National Park Service coordinates domestic and international engagement with the travel and tourism sector. By participating in industry conferences and meetings, sharing policy updates and news, and providing on-line resources and information for the travel trade, the National Park Service maintains constructive dialogue and engagement with the travel industry. The program also provides NPS staff and partners with data, trends, news, and analysis regarding travel and tourism in order to support collaborative tourism management and planning throughout the agency. The Tourism Program coordinates with a range of NPS offices that engage with tourism management, including park planning, commercial services, interpretation, and more.
The NPS Tourism Program supports collaborative management of responsible tourism throughout the agency and across the park system. This includes engaging with tourism issues such as tribal tourism, diversity in travel, and accessible travel. Tourism management in the National Park Service is guided by the policy document Directors Order #17 - Tourism.
Individual park system units collaborate and partner with a variety of tourism-related organizations to help manage visitation, provide visitor services, and promote NPS sites. As the complexity of tourism and destination management increase, NPS managers work closely with destination management organizations (DMOs) to manage tourism responsibly.
Historic and current data on visitation and economic impacts can be found here.
The National Park Service protects a variety of environmental, cultural and historic areas, so the effects of tourism on individual parks and neighboring communities vary greatly across the system. Some NPS sites have been experiencing drastic increases in visitation over the last decade while others would love to share their story with more visitors.
In addition to working closely with park gateway communities, the National Park Service manages a variety of community programs that help preserve history and heritage, develop local recreation opportunities, and promote civic engagement in communities across the country.
Last updated: April 11, 2019