Tourism to the Outer Banks Group creates $225.4 million in Economic Benefits

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Date: April 22, 2016
Contact: David Hallac, 252-473-2111

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,743,338 non-local visitors to the Outer Banks Group of national park sites in 2015 spent $179.8 million in communities near the parks. That spending supported 2,815 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $225.4 million.

“Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent David Hallac. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the parks 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 national park sites within the Outer Banks Group and their individual economic impact figures are:

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore: 2,132,600 non-local visitors spent $140.1 million, resulting in 2,169 jobs and a cumulative benefit to the state economy of 174.6 million.

  • Fort Raleigh National Historic Site: 243,503 non-local visitors spent $15.8 million, resulting in 258 jobs and a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $20.2 million.

  • Wright Brothers National Memorial: 367,235 non-local visitors spent $23.9 million, resulting in 388 jobs and a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $30.6 million.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

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).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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:

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

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

Last updated: April 22, 2016

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


(252) 473-2111

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