News Release

Tourism to Big South Fork NRRA created $26.4 million in Economic Output in the Local Community in 2020

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Date: June 11, 2021
Contact: Christopher Derman, 423-569-9778

A new National Park Service report shows that 773,000 visitors to Big South Fork NRRA in 2020 spent $24.3 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 295 jobs in the local area.

“We have been safely increasing access to Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, one park in the national system of parks that support individual and collective physical and mental wellness,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “We welcome people back to the park and are excited 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.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists with the National Park Service and the US Geological Survey. The report shows $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally; 194,400 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the US economy was $28.6 billion.

Looking at the economics of visitor spending nationally, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $5 billion in economic output. The restaurants sector was had the second greatest effects, with $3 billion in economic output. Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 43,100 jobs and more than 45,900 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 18,100 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 14,300 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 on the NPS Social Science Program page on

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

Last updated: June 12, 2021

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