A new National Park Service report shows that more than 3.3 million recreational visitors to Grand Teton National Park in 2017 spent $590 million in communities near the park. That spending supported almost 8,700 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $744 million.
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “It is a privilege to welcome visitors from around the world to share the spectacular natural and cultural resources of this iconic national park. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it is a big factor in our local economy as well.”
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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
There are several sites affiliated or managed by the National Park Service in Wyoming, including Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area; Devils Tower National Monument; Fort Laramie National Historic Site; Fossil Butte National Monument; Grand Teton National Park; John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; and Yellowstone National Park. Visit www.nps.gov/Wyoming to learn more about national parks in Wyoming and how the National Park Service works with local communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation.