“From Zion and Bryce Canyon to Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah’s national parks attract more than 9 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world,” said Sue Masica, director of NPS’s Intermountain Region, which includes Utah and seven other states. “Whether these park visitors are out for an afternoon, on a school field trip or taking a long family vacation, they come for a great experience -- and they end up spending a little money along the way, too. This new report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. This reality makes parks tourism an important factor in Utah’s economy as well. It’s a result we all can support.”
Utah’s 13 national parks include: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks; Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge and Timpanogos Cave national monuments; Golden Spike National Historic Site, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The peer-reviewed NPS visitor spending analysis was conducted for the Park Service by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz. The national report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally -- with 201,000 of those jobs in these park “gateway” communities -- and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.
According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).