BERLIN – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that in 2010, the latest available year for statistics, the 2,106,090 visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore spent $142,650,000 at the Seashore and in communities near the park in Maryland and Virginia.
That spending supported 2,141 jobs in the region. The Seashore was ranked among the top 20 parks nationwide in both visitor spending and job creation.
“The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known the economic value of parks,” said park Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. “Assateague Island National Seashore is a clean, green engine that helps drive our local economy.”
Beyond Assateague, the National Park Service plays a large economic role in both states.
There were 3,541,570 visitors to all national parks in Maryland in 2010, spending $178,418,000 and supporting 2,371 jobs in the state. The 22,708,338 visitors to all national parks in Virginia in 2010 spent $578,288,000 and supported 8,236 jobs.
According to the study, most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).
The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 28 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.
Across the United States, local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.