Tourism to Local national parks creates over 51 million dollars in Economic Benefit

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Date: July 23, 2014
Contact: Robin Snyder, 304-640-0724

Glen Jean, WV– A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,243,400 visitors toNew River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area in2013 spent$51,108,000in communities near the park. That spending supported673jobs in the local area.

"The National Parks of southern West Virginia are proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. "We are delighted to share the story of these parks and the experiences they provide and to use the parks as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country 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 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 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.

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 https://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

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

To learn more about national parks inWest Virginiaand how the National Park Service works withWest Virginiacommunities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/WESTVIRGINIA.



Last updated: February 26, 2015

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