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Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115
Keystone, South Dakota – In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week Mount Rushmore National Memorial reveals data from a new National Park Service report which shows that over 2.4 million visitors to Mount Rushmore in 2017 spent an estimated $139 million in local communities. Spending that supported 2,140 jobs in the area and had a cumulative benefit of $177 million to the local economy.
“Doane Robinson to Gutzon Borglum to today Mount Rushmore National Memorial has long served as an active member in the tourism economy of our local communities,” stated Superintendent Cheryl Schreier. “National Park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to 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 $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.
The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.
According to the 2017 report, 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 produced 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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm. To learn more about national parks in South Dakota and how the National Park Service works with South Dakota communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/sd.