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Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY– A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that a record 4.25 million people visited Yellowstone National Park in 2016. These visitors spent $524.3 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 8,156 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $680.3 million.
Yellowstone attracts people from around the country and the world who contribute significantly to the local economies in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho,” comments Superintendent Dan Wenk. “The economic benefits our neighbors enjoy are a direct result of preserving Yellowstone’s spectacular thermal features, abundant wildlife, and dramatic scenery. As we look to the future, preservation has to be the key value we consider as we address increasing visitation. Protecting the park also protects the regional tourism economy.”
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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 330.9 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.
According to the 2016 report, nationally most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5 percent).
The report authors also produced an interactive tool to make their findings more accessible. People who use the tool 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.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.