News Release

Tourism in Maine to Acadia National Park Creates $387.7 Million in Economic Benefits

Graph of economic spending

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News Release Date: May 28, 2019

Contact: Christie Anastasia, 207 288-8806

Updated Visitor Spending Surveys Improve Accuracy of Economic Benefit Estimates


BAR HARBOR, ME – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 3,537,575 visits to Acadia National Park in Maine generated $387.7 million in the state in 2018. That spending resulted in 5,602 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $521.5 million.
 
“The national parks of Maine attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Northeast Region Director Gay Vietzke. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long 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.”
 
This 2018 Visitor Spending Effects analysis incorporates newly available survey data for Acadia National Park and 18 additional parks in the National Park System. The survey was part of a pilot project to develop long-term, scientific monitoring and collection of visitor data during a park’s peak season. Previous spending estimates for Acadia were calculated by using generalized visitor spending data from other parks in the National Park System. The new survey data showed us that people spent more time in the park, stayed longer in gateway communities and spent more money during their visit. The updated data contributed to a 36.3% increase in visitor spending estimates for Acadia this year. The new data accounts for 32% of this increase, the rest is due to inflation and increased park visitation. Finally, the new data showed an upward effect on visitor spending estimates for the state of Maine and the Northeast region.
 
“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record number of visitors in 2018 making it the seventh most-visited national park in the country,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We value our relationship with the neighboring communities and appreciate the services, experiences, and amenities they provide to all of our visitors.”

Comparison of spending from the pilot project with previous general profiles.
 

  2017 Visitor Spending Effects 2018 Visitor Spending Effects Change % Change
 Visits 3,509,271 3,537,575 28,304 0.8%
 Visitor Spending ($ Millions) $284.5 $387.7 $103.2 36.3%
 Output ($ Millions) $338.9 $521.5 $182.6 53.9%
 Jobs 4,163 5,602 1,439 34.6%


Acadia National Park is the only national park in Maine for which figures were available for this report. There are several other National Park System sites in the state including Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.
 
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.
 
Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.
 
Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.
 
Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor-spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
 



Last updated: May 28, 2019

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