MOAB, UT—A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.5 million visitors to Arches National Park in 2017 spent $182 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,869 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $241 million. The same report shows the 742,000 visitors to Canyonlands National Park spent $44 million, supported 640 local jobs, and produced $52 million in cumulative benefit to the local economy.
“Arches and Canyonlands national parks welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Kate Cannon. “We are delighted to share the story of these special places and the experiences they provide. The parks also introduce visitors to this part of the country and the many recreational opportunities available here. 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 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 Utah and how the National Park Service works with Utah communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/utah.
For additional information about the Southeast Utah Group of national parks visit our websites:
Arches National Park: www.nps.gov/arch
Canyonlands National Park: www.nps.gov/cany
Hovenweep National Monument:www.nps.gov/hove
Natural Bridges National Monument: www.nps.gov/nabr