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Visitor Spending Near USA National Parks

Photo: Grand Canyon

In 2018, visitor spending in communities near national parks resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.

In 2018, 318 million park visitors spent an estimated $20.2 billion in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands across the country. These expenditures supported a total of 329 thousand jobs, $13.6 billion in labor income, $23.4 billion in value added, and $40.1 billion in economic output in the national economy.

Download the 2018 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report (PDF – 1.83 MB).

Key Links
https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

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Visitor Spending
The sum of the indirect and induced effects give the secondary effects of visitor spending; and the sum of the direct and secondary effects give the total economic effect of visitor spending in a local economy.  Economic input-output models capture these complex interactions between producers and consumers in an economy and describe the secondary effects of visitor spending through regional economic multipliers.

Economic contributions describe the gross economic activity associated with National Park visitor spending within a regional economy. Economic contributions can be interpreted as the relative magnitude and importance to regional economies of the economic activity generated through National Park visitor spending.

Terms and Definitions
Economic Contributions describe the gross economic activity associated with National Park visitor spending within a regional economy. Economic contributions can be interpreted as the relative magnitude and importance to regional economies of the economic activity generated through National Park visitor spending. Economic contributions are estimated by multiplying total visitor spending by regional economic multipliers. Total visitor spending includes spending by both visitors who live within the local gateway regions (local visitors) and visitors who travel to the parks from outside of the local gateway regions (non-local visitors).
Gateway Regions are the areas directly surrounding National Park Service sites. Gateway economies include the cities and towns where visitors typically stay and spend money while visiting National Park Service sites.

Visitor Spending estimates measure the amount of money National Park Service visitors spend within the gateway regions surrounding each National Park Service site. Only spending that takes place within gateway regions is included as supporting economic activity.

Jobs are measured as annualized full and part time jobs that are supported by National Park Service visitor spending.

Labor Income includes employee wages, salaries and payroll benefits, as well as the incomes of sole proprietors that are supported by National Park Service visitor spending.

Value Added measures the contribution of National Park Service visitor spending to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a regional economy. Value added is equal to the difference between the amount an industry sells a product for and the production cost of the product.

Economic Output is a measure of the total estimated value of the production of goods and services supported by National Park Service visitor spending. Output is the sum of all intermediate sales (business to business) and final demand (sales to consumers and exports).

Direct Effects are the sales, income and employment resulting from direct visitor purchases of goods and services from local businesses within National Park Service gateway economies. Direct effects represent the economic activity within a regional economy that is supported directly by National Park Service visitor spending.

Secondary Effects (economic multiplier effects) are the sales, income and employment resulting from the ripple effect of National Park Service visitor spending throughout a regional economy. These ripple effects are the result of local businesses purchasing supplies and labor (indirect effects) and employees spending their incomes in the local economy (induced effects). Secondary Effects are equal to the sum of indirect and induced effects. Secondary effects are estimated using economic multipliers.

Total Economic Effects are the sum of direct and secondary effects.

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