National Park Tourism in PA Creates $477.2M in Economic Benefit

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New report shows visitor spending supports 7,259 jobs in PA

PHILADELPHIA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 9,137,528 visitors to national parks in Pennsylvania spent $477.2 million and supported 7,259 jobs in the state in 2013.

“The national parks of Pennsylvania attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Northeast Regional Director, Mike Caldwell.

“Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”

The national parks in Pennsylvania are Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Gettysburg National Military Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Independence National Historical Park, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Steamtown National Historic Site, Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Upper Delaware Scenic And Recreational River and Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

The 2013 economic figures are somewhat lower than the 2012 results. The 16-day government shutdown in October of 2013 accounted for most of the decline in park visitation. The authors also cited inflation adjustments for differences between visitation and visitor spending, jobs supported and overall effect on the U.S. economy.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit here. The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to here.

 

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