News Release

Tourism to Yellowstone creates $629.6 million in economic benefits

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Date: May 7, 2018
Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY - A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 4.1 million people to Yellowstone in 2017 spent $498.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 7,354 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $629.6 million.

“Yellowstone welcomes people from across the country and around the world who contribute significantly to the local economies in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “The economic benefits our neighbors enjoy are a direct result of preserving Yellowstone’s abundant wildlife, spectacular thermal features, 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 $18.2 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).

The 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:

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

Check the National Park Service’s webpages about Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to see how the Agency works with communities in these states to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Last updated: May 8, 2018

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