April 21, 2016
Contact: Christopher Derman
A National Park Service report shows that nearly 650,000 visitors to Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in 2015, and spent $19.2 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 263 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy.
"Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Niki Nicholas. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. Visiting one of the 13 units of the National Park System in Tennessee is a great way to introduce visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National Park Service 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 annual peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. Visitor spending in 2015 supported 295,000 jobs, provided $11.1 billion in labor income, $18.4 billion in value added, and $32.0 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector provided the highest direct contributions with $5.2 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 52,000 jobs. The restaurants and bars sector provided the next greatest direct contributions with $3.4 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 65,000 jobs.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Tennessee and how the National Park Service works with Tennessee communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/state/TN/index.htm.