2.1M Visited Assateague Last Year

2.1M Visited Assateague Last Year
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ASSATEAGUE — A report released last week by the National Park Service revealed over 2.1 million visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore last year contributed nearly $106 million in cumulative economic benefit to the local area.

According to the NPS report issued late last week on the eve Memorial Day weekend, 2,136,889 visitors came to Assateague Island National Seashore in 2018 and spent a combined $94,476,000 in communities near the barrier island. The spending supported 1,192 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $105,594,000.

“Assateague Island National Seashore welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said AINS Superintendent Debbie Darden. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experience 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.”

Darden said the economic successes at Assateague Island National Seashore mimic similar results for other national parks around the country.

“National Park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every one dollar invested in the National Park Service and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” she said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and ae glad to be able to give back by helping sustain local communities.”

The report was prepared by analysts with the National Park Service and peer-reviewed by the U.S. Geological Survey. The overall report shows over

$20 billion in direct spending by over 318 million visitors in neighboring communities within 60 miles of a national park. That spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally, including 269,000 jobs in those gateway communities near national parks.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending at around $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area with visitors spending around $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported over 58,000 jobs along with another 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in recreation industries supported over 28,000 jobs, while spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.