NOAA's Florida Keys, Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuaries
Highlighted in National Travel and Tourism Strategy
Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced this week the Administration's National Travel and Tourism Strategy – delivering on President Obama's call in January for a national strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States. Two National Marine Sanctuaries – Florida Keys, and Gulf of the Farallones – are included in the report.
The National Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the U.S., laying out concrete steps to be taken to increase American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year. National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks are central to attracting new visitors.
|The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Trail is big draw for divers of all expertise levels. From a Spanish treasure fleet ship sunk in the 1700s to a 1940s destroyer escort, discover more about all of these amazing shipwrecks.|
"Tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America every year. They stay in our hotels, they eat at our restaurants, they visit our attractions, and they help create jobs. At a time when too many Americans are still looking for work, we need to make it easier for more people to visit this country and keep our economy growing," President Obama said.
"This Administration will continue to do everything we can to support travel and tourism – our number one services export – which will help support millions of American jobs," Secretary Bryson said. "I am proud of our work on the National Strategy, a product of a strong private-public partnership, which will make the U.S. even more welcoming to visitors and reinforce our message to the world: the United States is open for business."
Two themes of the report that focus on highlighting national marine sanctuaries include Promoting the United States and Providing world class customer service and visitor experience. The report notes that Federal government owns and manages some of America's most iconic symbols, "from well known attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, to off-the beaten-path gems like Mount St. Helens' National Volcanic Monument and Desert National Wildlife Refuge...".
|These northern right whale dolphins are one of the marine mammals that visitors to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary may spot. At least 36 species of whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions have been observed within the sanctuary’s boundaries. Many species of whales and dolphins often frequent the surrounding waters including the endangered blue and humpback whales which use the sanctuary as an important feeding ground. California sea lions, elephant seals, northern fur seals, and Steller sea lions visit sanctuary waters to feed on krill, squid, and juvenile fishes. In addition, one fifth of California’s harbor seals breed within the sanctuary. (Photo: Ken Balcomb, NOAA)|
Under the strategy to "Improve Visitor Services at Federally Managed Sites," recommendations include exceeding visitor expectations for service and information, provide information about available experiences and develop additional tourism circuits near top destinations to encourage travelers to expand their itineraries to lesser known destinations, to benefit gateway communities and add valuable vacation days. Examples include:
o Miami: Miami is one of the biggest destinations in the United States for South American tourists. Suggested itineraries for these travelers include opportunities to explore the "original Miami" through the sawgrass of Everglades National Park and wildlife and beaches beyond the city in Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Biscayne National Park, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
o San Francisco: Visitors to the City by the Bay already flock to the Golden Gate Bridge, but just beyond the bridge awaits the world's tallest trees at Muir Woods National Monument, the Pacific Flyway with hundreds of bird species at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge, one of the most beautiful shorelines in California at Point Reyes National Seashore, and myriad marine mammals at Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Also of interest are the national historic and scenic trails in the Eldorado National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.