Why 2016 is the year to visit the USA

2016 is the year to visit the USA. This is the message from online travel company Responsible Travel despite a decline in enquiries to US holidays, something it is attributing to the ‘Trump effect’.

Managing Director, Justin Francis says “Across the Responsible Travel site, enquiries to our holidays worldwide are growing year on year, but the USA is one destination where we can see a real drop in interest.

"While the strength of the dollar against the pound won’t be helping, we believe that the media coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has made people more wary of the destination.

"And yet, this year is a pretty important one for the United States of America. No, I’m not talking about the pantomime of the Presidential race, It’s the 100 year anniversary of their National Parks - a true reminder of what’s great about America.”

By 1916, several National Parks already existed - Yellowstone, being the oldest, was set aside in 1872 - however, 1916 was the year that a single body was set up to manage the parks. At this time, the park were simply a business strategy to make money from the otherwise unproductive land. These scenic wonders with dramatic valleys, glaciers and rock formations couldn’t be exploited for anything else apart from tourism. It wasn’t until 1947 that the idea of wildlife protection within the parks was approved. Now, the US National Parks have taken on a higher purpose of preserving whole ecosystems, not just natural monuments or living beings. These wild areas give visitors a glimpse into the past; to what America looked like before highways, McDonalds and shopping halls. In the last century, the protected areas have grown from just 37 to 400 - each offering citizens and tourists the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature.

To celebrate 100 years of the US National Parks, the National Park Service are offering 16 ‘Fee Free’ days which is a great opportunity to explore new parks or visit your old favourites.

Francis adds “Whether it’s Zion, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, there’s never been a better time to go stateside.”

Responsible Travel's top picks for US National Parks holidays are:

Yellowstone & Teton National Parks Solar Eclipse Holiday:
Towering geysers, black bears and one of nature's greatest natural wonders - the total eclipse of the sun.

National Parks of the West walking holiday
Discover one of the US' most geographically diverse regions on foot - trek beneath towering sandstone cliffs in Zion National Park and swim in the blue waters of Lake Powell

Alaska adventure holiday, Kenai Peninsula
Spot Beluga whales, hike on glaciers and come face to face with brown bears

Read our guide to US National Parks here >

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