Report: Tourism to Shenandoah National Park creates $80.4 million in economic benefits
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.26 million visitors to Shenandoah National Park in 2014 spent $80.4 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,085 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $104.7 million.
“Shenandoah National Park is proud to be a vital part of the Blue Ridge region,” said Superintendent Jim Northup. “We are delighted to welcome visitors from near and far to share not only the story of the Park and the experiences it provides, but also the diverse opportunities provided by our local communities. 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.”
“Shenandoah National Park is a tremendous economic engine for our region, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year,” stated Doug Stanley, Warren County Administrator and Chair of the Celebrate Shenandoah Group. “Warren County and the other eight counties that border Shenandoah National Park need to continue to work together to enhance and improve our gateways, do a better job of marketing ourselves and the Park, and work collaboratively to strengthen the relationship with the Park to fully take advantage of and build on this wonderful asset that we have in our backyard.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz. The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.
According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).
To download the report visit http://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 in Virginia and how the National Park Service works with Virginia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/virginia.