Local Parks Generate Near $30 Million In Tourism Dollars

Staff Report for Island Eye News

A new National Park Service report shows that 349,000 visitors to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park in 2021 spent $22.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 297 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $29.7 million. “National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said Acting Superintendent Bill Reilly. “At Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, we are excited to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.” The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion.

As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally. 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 at nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm. To learn more about national parks in South Carolina and how the National Park Service works with South Carolina communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to nps.gov/ STATENAME.nps.gov.

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