ATLANTA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 17,706,033 visitors to national parks in North Carolina spent $1.11 billion and supported 16,703 jobs in the state in 2012.
“The national parks of North Carolina attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Stan Austin, NPS Southeast Regional Director. “Although North Carolina is quickly associated with the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, the state is also rich in Revolutionary War history, the mysteries of the early settlers at Fort Raleigh, and the first flight of the Wright Brothers. The Carolina coast is quickly becoming a vacation destination, as well, and all those visitors end up spending a little money along the way. This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”
The national parks in North Carolina are Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Moores Creek National Battlefield, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, and portions of Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent). To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm