Should Attractions in the United States Charge Different Fees for Non-Residents?
“T here seems to be a growing trend to charge foreigners higher entrance fees to national parks and monuments in many countries” is what I first wrote in this article from Friday, September 30, 2011 — along with posting a couple of unconfirmed examples used primarily for illustrative purposes.
In my travels since posting that article, I have noticed that that trend does indeed seem to be true. The latest example is when I was in Egypt earlier this month, where the disparity between the entrance fees of attractions for foreigners versus Egyptians can be significant. One of many examples in Egypt alone is the ticket cost to the Supreme Council of Antiquities Museum, where the price of admission is 60 Egyptian pounds for foreigners versus only four Egyptian pounds for Egyptians — or approximately $7.84 versus 52 cents, respectively.
Is that fair?
That prompted me to think about a question I asked almost four years ago: should attractions in the United States of America — such as national parks and monuments — charge one fee for Americans and a higher fee for foreigners? If so, should the fees paid by foreigners be a comparable amount based on what their home countries charge American citizens for access to their national parks and monuments — similar to reciprocal fees such as those charged between the United States and Brazil?
“It is all a matter of demand and supply”, posted FlyerTalk member cbn42 back in September of 2011. “If you want to attract foreign tourists (who then stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, and keep the economy running), then charging them more is not a good plan. But American tourists, who tend to be wealthier than say Ecuadorians, are not going to be deterred by a $100 admission fee.”
A differential in pricing between residents and foreigners could also be seen as petty and discriminatory and possibly discourage tourism in the United States; but would that matter if the costs were reduced for American citizens versus increased for foreigners?
“Only about a third of the 400-plus properties within the National Park Service system charge an entrance fee”, according to this article which announces an increase in entrance fees to some national parks in the United States this year as written by Kevin Freking of the Associated Press. “…the National Park Service collects about $180 million annually through fees and had hoped to raise $45 million more through all the fee increases.”
What are your thoughts? Have you encountered differences in pricing and costs for foreigners versus citizens in other countries during your travels? Is this a practice which attractions in the United States should consider implementing — or is it simply a bad idea?