Park Animals are fuming over rumours that the 2014 budget includes an increase in funding to promote tourism.
The rumours, which were published this morning in several Park newspapers, have added fuel to Park residents’ anger about the budget and about the Archons’ push to make The Park a popular tourist destination.
“The Park Finance Office should be ashamed of itself for even considering it, and so should the Archons,” Emmanuelle Musaraigne told reporters at a hastily-called press conference this afternoon.
Musaraigne, who is president of the recently-formed anti-tourism group, NoPARKing, managed to assemble her membership within minutes of hearing the rumour. Some even came prepared, carrying signs that simply said, “NO!”
“We will protest and we will protest until this thing is removed from the budget,” Musaraigne declared at the end of the conference.
“And we will boycott this ill-conceived three-prong tourism plan entirely unless the Finance Office and the Tourist Office show some respect for Park citizens,” she said.
The plan, which was introduced last year as a scheme to open up a new revenue stream for The Park, has continued to be controversial and unpopular among Park residents. Last year, some particularly infuriated members of the group, Keep Your Paws out of Our Ponds, set up barriers in the new tourist areas in the hope of discouraging return visitors.
Wellington Whistlepig, founder and current president of the Park Association of Shops and Services (PASS) says that while there is no proof that tourists benefit The Park’s economy, there is ample evidence that they are destroying our pristine environment : ”It’s not as if they buy anything from our shops or even from our restaurants,” he says. “They insult us by bringing their own food and drink and leaving the garbage behind for us to clean up.”
But The Park’s immigrant aid groups say they fear an even more devastating possibility: that funds that have previously gone to assisting refugees and new immigrants might be diverted to this new tourism plan.
“We are a Park of immigrants and refugees, some of whom have fled the very creatures we are now being told to welcome and to serve. This is a very dangerous path for us to follow,” says Inez Gallina of Home to Roost.