A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly 1.7 million visitors to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in 2012 spent over $123 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,541 jobs in the local area.
“Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Woody Smeck. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park 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.”
Smeck added that Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks intends to expand its tourism efforts by developing a marketing plan before the centennial celebration of the National Park Service in 2016, which will involve hiring a private marketing firm and working closely with chambers of commerce, agencies and other organizations.
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 $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.
According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39%), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27%), and other amusement and recreation (20%).
To download the report, visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.