Economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service conducted the peer-reviewed spending analysis. Nationwide, it shows that 327 million park visitors spent $21 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park, supporting 340,500 jobs, of which 278,000 are found in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $41.7 billion.
Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $7.1 billion in 2019. The restaurant sector had the next greatest effect with $4.2 billion in economic output. Motor vehicle fuel expenditures were $2.16 billion with retail spending at $1.93 billion. This supported 58,000 lodging jobs, 61,000 restaurant jobs, 28,000 recreation jobs and 20,000 retail jobs.
For an interactive tool that allows users to explore the data, visit www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.