National Park Tourism Creates Economic Benefit to Greater Washington Area

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Date: March 7, 2014

 National Park Tourism Creates $928.6 Million Economic Benefit to Greater Washington Area

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2012 shows that the 49.5 million visitors to national parks in the greater Washington, D.C. area spent $928.6 million in surrounding communities.  The spending supported more than 12,000 jobs across the region.

"National parks in the Greater Washington area preserve the American story and serve as a stage where history is made and remembered," said NPS Regional Director Stephen E. Whitesell.  "Not only do national parks in this area attract visitors from across the country and around the world, but they are also integral to Washingtonians' daily lives.  we are proud to be entrusted with America's most treasured places, and it's important to understand the extent to which the visitors we welcome contribute to the local, state and national economy."

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.  This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report, most visitor spending nationwide supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit

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

To learn more about national parks in the Washington metropolitan area and how the NPS works with communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide local recreation opportunities, go to

NPS b-roll is available to news media to use in reporting on the 2012 National Park Visitors Spending Report at



Last updated: April 10, 2015

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