A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 3.4 million visitors to Olympic National Park in 2017 spent $279 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3,556 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $385 million.
“Olympic National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. 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 local communities and are glad to be able to give back.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.
The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.
According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).
Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
To learn more about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with Washington communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Washington.