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Contact: Katie Wood, (928)614-4220
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly 2.5 million people visited Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument in 2015. Those visitors spent over $171 million in communities near the park and supported 2,440 jobs in the local area, with a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $195 million.
"International tourism to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument has increased in recent years, bringing significant economic benefits to our gateway communities," said Acting Superintendent Billy Shott. "Our gateway communities are key planning partners for managing resources to ensure that these special places remain world class destinations for generations to come." A planning effort with the City of Page to improve the increasingly popular Horseshoe Bend Overlook is an example of innovative community collaboration underway.
The report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The report also illustrates ways that national parks help sustain local communities.
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 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%) followed by food and beverages (20.2%), gas and oil (11.8%), admissions and fees (10.2%) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8%).
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: go.nps.gov/vse.
The report also includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Arizona or Utah and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Arizona or www.nps.gov/Utah.