Victor Parra Testifies on Rising Gas Prices and Tourism
ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 27, 2012— United Motorcoach Association (UMA) President & CEO, Victor Parra, has testified today before the Committee on Natural Resources oversight hearing on “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Family Vacations and U.S. Tourism Industry.” He testified on behalf of UMA and NTA to give their perspectives on bus and motorcoach tourism, and how the current state of fuel costs is impacting group travel. The hearing was chaired by U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“On behalf of the United Motorcoach Association and the National Tour Association, it is my goal to provide the Committee our perspectives on bus and motorcoach tourism, and how the current state of fuel costs impact group travel. I can think of few segments of the economy that are impacted as significantly by the availability and cost of fuel and the impact they have on economic growth and job creation,” stated Mr. Parra at the beginning of his testimony.
“Travel and tourism is one of only a few industries that possess a positive balance of trade. In 2010, 55.7 million visitors from countries around the world arrived on our shores to visit the great destinations and attractions we offer. Travel and tourism supports 14 million jobs and $188.3 billion in wages, ranking number five in overall employment in the United States,” stated Parra.
He continued, “In April 2002 the average national price of diesel fuel was $1.32 per gallon. In 2002 the cost of fuel represented approximately 10% of an operators cost. With the cost of fuel tripling in just ten years, motorcoach travel and tour professionals are challenged to offer affordable domestic travel. Most recently, UMA and NTA joined a coalition of tourism industry professionals that encourage development of national tourism strategy. As today’s hearing highlights, energy needs to be part of that strategy. Furthermore, we recommend the House Natural Resources Committee consider policies that:
Alleviate energy shortages that force increases in fuel prices.
Encourage consumers to utilize motorcoach transportation when appropriate and feasible.
Create policies that support motorcoach travel including removing restrictions and facilitating motorcoach travel on our Nation’s highways.”
“In conclusion, UMA and NTA believe the travel and tourism industry is playing a vital – if at times underappreciated - role in our Nation’s economic recovery. UMA and NTA welcome the opportunity to submit this testimony and we look forward to working with this committee to harness American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Family Vacations and U.S. Tourism Industry.”
Other witnesses included representatives from Sabre Holdings, AAA and the Center for American Progress.
About UMA The United Motorcoach Association is North America’s largest association for operators of motorcoach companies providing charter, tour and regular route services. Founded in 1971, UMA is comprised of over 900 professional bus and motorcoach companies who provide transportation services in all fifty states, Canada and Mexico, and more than 250 supplier, manufacturer, and travel partner members. Headquartered in Alexandria, VA, UMA is dedicated to protecting and promoting the interests of the entire motorcoach industry and providing its members with programs and services to enhance the success of their operations. More information can be obtained by visiting www.uma.org.