APRIL 29, 2015

National park tourism in Arizona creates $1.23 billion in economic benefit

New report shows visitor spending supports 13,360 jobs in Grand Canyon State
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DENVER — A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 10,747,223 visitors to national parks in Arizona in 2014 spent $837 million in the state. That spending supported 13,359 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $1,229,000,000. The results represent an 8.1 percent increase in spending and 6.4 percent rise in visitation over 2013.

“From Grand Canyon to Tumacácori National Historic Park, the national parks of Arizona attract more than 10.7 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world,” said Sue Masica, director of the NPS Intermountain Region, which includes Arizona and seven other states. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, on a school field trip or crossing America on a  family vacation, park visitors come for a great experience — and they end up spending a little money along the way. This new report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 America invests in the National Park Service. This reality makes national parks tourism a big factor in Arizona’s economy, too. It’s a result we all can support.”

Total spending by visitors to Arizona’s 20 national parks ranked fifth highest among the 50 states. Visitation was sixth highest. Arizona’s parks include: Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Saguaro national parks; Canyon de Chelly, Casa Grande Ruin, Chiricahua, Hohokam Pima, Montezuma Castle, Navajo, Organ Pipe Cactus, Pipe Spring, Sunset Crater Volcano, Tuzigoot, Tonto, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki national monuments; Coronado National Memorial; Tumacácori National Historical Park, and Fort Bowie and Hubbell Trading Post national historic sites.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and NPS economist Lynne Koontz. Nationally, the report shows that a record 292.8 million park visitors directly spent $15.7 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs, 235,600 of them in those “gateway” communities near the parks. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent). Other major categories include food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

Visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.