Park visitors spend $12 billion in gateway communities
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Travel and tourism at national parks continue to be economic engines for surrounding gateway communities, according to the latest National Park economic study, showing that the country’s parks hosted 281 million recreation visits in 2010.
Park visitors spent $12.13 billion in gateway areas (within roughly 60 miles of the parks) and visitors staying outside the park in motels, hotels, cabins and bed and breakfasts accounted for 56 percent of the total spending.
Half of the spending was for lodging and meals, 19% for gas and local transportation, 10 percent for amusements, 8 percent for groceries, and 13 percent for other retail purchases.
According to park service estimates, the spending helps sustain more than a quarter-million jobs and generates $9.8 billion in labor incom as well as $16.6 billion in value added.
Local economic impacts were estimated after excluding spending by visitors from the local area (9.8 percent of the total). Combining local impacts across all parks yields a total local impact including direct and secondary effects of 156,280 jobs, $4.68 billion in labor income, and $7.65 billion value added.
The four local economic sectors most directly affected by non-local visitor spending are lodging, restaurants, retail trade, and amusements. Visitor spending supports 43,160 jobs in restaurants and bars, 32,000 jobs in lodging sectors, 23,000 jobs in retail and wholesale trade, and 18,560 jobs in amusements.
Parks also impact the local and national economies through the National Park Service payroll. In Fiscal Year 2010 the National Park Service employed 26,031 people with a total payroll of $1,709 million in wages, salaries, and payroll benefits.
Including the induced effects of the spending of wages and salaries in the local region, the total local economic impacts of park payrolls are $1.95 billion in labor income, $2.16 billion in value added, and 32,407 jobs (including NPS jobs).
The impacts of the park payroll on the national economy are $2.41 billion in labor income, $2.96 billion in value added, and 41,700 jobs.
Combining the impacts of non-local visitor spending and NPS payroll-related spending yields a total impact of 300,000 jobs nationally of which 189,000 are in the local regions around national parks.