Tourism to Cape Lookout National Seashore creates $20.9 Million in Economic Benefits in 2017

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Date: May 17, 2018
Contact: B.G. Horvat, 252-838-8906

HARKERS ISLAND, NC A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 399,000 visitors to Cape Lookout National Seashore in 2017 spent $20.9 million dollars in communities near the park. That spending supported 309 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $23.2 million dollars.
 “Cape Lookout National Seashore welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Jeff West. “We are delighted to share the Down East story, and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to the Crystal Coast 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 supporting local jobs.”
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 direct spending by park visitors affects communities within 60 miles of a national park.
The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $6.9 million in economic output to our local gateway economies and 82 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $4.7 million in economic output to local gateway economies and 87 jobs. Groceries, gas, and retail spending accounted for $6.7 million, and 37 jobs.
According to the 2017 report on the entire NPS system, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).
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 North Carolina and how the National Park Service works with North Carolina’s communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: May 17, 2018

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