A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 15.2 million visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2012 spent $902 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 12,168 jobs in the local area.
"The Parkway will continue to rely on important relationships with our partners and neighboring communities as we prepare for the upcoming 2014 visitor season and beyond," Woods continues."The symbiotic nature of the Parkway and its gateway communities is clearly demonstrated by this report and reinforces one of the original vision statements of the Parkway as "a major contributor to regional economic vitality.""
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The 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 jobs found in these 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).
To download the report, please click here. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.