A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 46,397 visitors to George Washington Carver National Monument in 2016 spent $849,300 in communities near the park.
That spending supported 12 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $967,400.
“George Washington Carver National Monument welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Jim Heaney. “We are delighted to share the incredibly inspirational story of Carver, this wonderful place that is the first National Park to honor an African American, and the experiences it has provided for several generations of visitors.
“We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this historically and culturally rich region, and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $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 in Southwest Missouri and the Ozarks region, 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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.
This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S.
economy was $34.9 billion.
According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5 percent).
Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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: go.nps.gov/vse.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Missouri and how the National Park Service works with Missouri communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to http://www.nps.gov/missouri.