A new National Park Service report shows that 565,063 visitors to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in 2013 spent $16.3 million in communities near the park . That spending supported more than 200 jobs in the local area.
“The Big South Fork is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “We are delighted to share the stories of this place and the experiences available 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.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists 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 food service (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs). 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 Tennessee and Kentucky and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/TENNESSEE.