iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
India is known for charging foreign nationals a higher price for visiting national monuments. Although many tourists have claimed that the government is taking advantage of them, it is used to maintain the monuments with utmost care.
Taking cue from India, a US Senator has now moved legislation in his country to charge an additional fee between $16-25 from foreigners who visit America’s national parks.
The proposal to amend the Great American Outdoors Act moved by influential Senator Mike Enzi is meant to generate funds required to upgrade and maintain several national parks and top monuments in the US.
In order to meet the need to maintain parks, it would cost the US nearly $12 billion, according to the National Park Service. Last year, the overall budget for the National Park Service was roughly $4.1 billion. The Senator believes the new amendment provides a permanent solution.
“The way that my amendment works is by asking our foreign visitors, who as the numbers show are increasingly enjoying our parks, to pay $16-25 more when entering the country,” said Enzi.
According to a study by US Travel Association, nearly 40 percent of people who come to the US from abroad are visiting one of the national parks. That”s over 14 million people who come from abroad and visit national parks, he said.
“It’s great that people from all over the world recognize the value in these national treasures, but this increased visitation is adding to the maintenance backlog and it is only fair that we ask them to help maintain these national treasures,” he said.
Mr Enzi said that there was nothing novel about the concept as anyone who has visited an attraction outside the US has probably encountered such fees in one way or another.
“For example, foreign visitors at the Taj Mahal in India will pay a USD 18 fee, compared to a fee of only 56 cents for local visitors. At Kruger National Park in South Africa, visitors from outside the country will pay a USD 25 fee per day, compared to a USD 6.25 fee for local visitors,” Mr Enzi said.
Many European countries like Spain, France, and Italy charge a tourist tax on hotel rooms that are used to pay for tourism infrastructure, he added.
Mr Enzi proposed to increase the domestic fee as well.
“No one likes to pay more for things, especially during times like these, but to maintain these national treasures for future generations, we either borrow money and put it on the national credit card or we take some modest steps to address the issues responsibly,” he said.
“My amendment only raises entrance fee by USD 5 and annual passes by USD 20, so bringing a vehicle into a park would still be cheaper than taking a family of four to a movie or visiting an amusement park for a day,” Enzi said.