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Sandy Springs, GA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 3.4 million visitors to Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in 2019 spent $152 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,160 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $213 million.
“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities, such as those along the Chattahoochee River, where millions of park visitors enjoy outdoor recreation opportunities each year,” said Acting Superintendent Ann Honious. “NPS employees care for the park and interpret the stories of the park, but it takes our commercial service providers and people from nearby communities to fully provide our visitors with food and drink, lodging and other services that complete a national park experience.”
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 $21 billion of direct spending by more than 327 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 340,500 jobs nationally; 278,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $41.7 billion.
Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $7.1 billion in 2019. The restaurant sector had the next greatest effects with $4.2 billion in economic output. Motor vehicle fuel expenditures were $2.16 billion with retail spending at $1.93 billion.
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 Georgia and how the National Park Service works with Georgia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/georgia
Last updated: June 19, 2020