Tourism to Independence and other national parks creates $196 million in Economic Benefit

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Date: July 22, 2014
Contact: Jane Cowley, 215-597-0060

Report shows visitor spending supports 2,730 jobs in local economy

Philadelphia A new National Park Service report shows that 3,560,637 visitors to national parks in Philadelphia in 2013 spent $196 million in communities near the parks. That spending supported 2,730 jobs in the local area.

Philadelphia's best known national park is Independence National Historical Park, which is also responsible for management of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial. Together, these national park units make up more than 54 acres in the City of Philadelphia, with 18 buildings open for public visitation, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.

"With the historical significance of Independence National Historical Park and the beauty and interest of Philadelphia's other national parks, it is no wonder that millions of visitors enjoy our parks each year," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "These visitors not only infuse millions of dollars into our economy, they help support local job growth in our robust hospitality and tourism industry. The City of Philadelphia is a proud partner of Independence National Historical Park and we're looking forward to its continued prominence as a leading attraction in our city."

"Independence National Historical Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said acting superintendent BJ Dunn. "We are delighted to share the important history of this symbolic place and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this city 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 support of all of our partners who help attract visitors to our park, city and region."

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

The 2013 visitation levels are somewhat lower than the 2012 results, largely in part due to the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013. The authors also cited inflation adjustments for differences between visitation and visitor spending, jobs supported and overall effect on the U.S. economy.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit

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

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

A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948.Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day.A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets.Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall.For more information visit the park's website, follow us at

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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