News Release

Tourism to Assateague Island National Seashore creates $94,476,000 in Economic Benefits

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: May 23, 2019
Contact: Liz Davis, 410-629-6087

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,192 jobs in local economy


Berlin, MD –– A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,136,889 visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore in 2018 spent $94,476,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,192 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $105,594,000.

 “Assateague Island National Seashore welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Debbie Darden. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

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:


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

Last updated: May 23, 2019

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811


410 641-1441

Contact Us