Vacation planners are receiving a much-needed boost in resources as the Department of Interior announced Thursday that it will expand its Outer Banks vacation planning program by adding a second vacation destination to the list of destinations.
The expanded Outer Banks program, called the Outer Banks Outer Islands, will include more than 30 vacation destinations, including a beach town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a hiking destination in the Virgin Islands, a ski resort in the North Slope, a golf course in the Big Cypress Mountains, and a ski town in New Hampshire.
The Outer Banks, which are located just south of the Gulf of Mexico, are known for their pristine natural environment and the coastal climate.
“The Outer Banks offer the opportunity for vacationers to explore an area with some of the best scenery and recreational opportunities in the world, and we’re pleased to expand our program in response to the growing demand for Outer Islands experiences,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a press release.
“Vacation planning for Outer Territories is an important and rewarding aspect of our work as a conservation partner.
I look forward to expanding our program and offering more Outer Islands options in the coming months.”
The Outer Islands Outer Banks Vacation Planning Program has expanded by five locations since the original Outer Banks plan was introduced in 2011, Zinke noted.
The program will include an additional 12 destinations in the Outer Islands including three new Outer Banks locations.
According to the Interior Department, “the Outer Banks offers a unique opportunity for families and individuals who seek to explore the scenic and unique natural environments of the Outer Territories, with a high degree of freedom and openness.”
“We’re pleased that the new Outer Islands Vacation Program is expanding beyond the Outer Bank as we look forward the upcoming fiscal year,” Interior Director Ryan Zinnek said in the release.
The new Outer Borders Vacation Opportunities program will be a four-year effort, beginning in 2018 and running through 2023.
“As the number of people who choose to travel to Outer Banks has increased, the Outer Borders is now the third largest Outer Banks island after Hawaii and Alaska, according to the Outer Border Alliance, an advocacy group for travelers,” the Interior Secretary said.
“In addition, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has found that more than two million Americans live in the Northern Territories, which has allowed us to expand the Outer Waters program to include the Outer Borough of West Virginia and the Northern Frontier of Alaska.”
The newly expanded Outer Borders Outer Borders vacation opportunities will be offered at the Outer Bays, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Mountains, Outer Banks and Outer Banks of Alaska, where the Outer Bursts are located.
The additional Outer Banks destinations will be the Outer Ridge, Outer Islands of Virginia, the Big Pine and the Big Woods, the Interior said.
In addition to the new program, Zinneke also announced that a new Outer Territories Tourism Bureau will be created to help the Outerbanks, and he said that he will also establish an Outer Banks Tourism Office to focus on the Outer Highlands, which includes the Blue and the Black Seas.
“This new tourism bureau will support tourism and the economic development of the communities where Outer Banks travelers choose to spend their vacation time,” Zinke added.
The Bureau of the Interior is responsible for overseeing the activities of the U.S. government in the region, and the new tourism agency will also work to develop the region’s tourism industry, Zinve said.