Tourism to Big Bend National Park creates $61 million in economic benefits
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Texas (KOSA) -A new National Park Service report shows that 581,220 visitors to Big Bend National Park in 2021 spent over $53 million in communities near the park.
That spending supported 726 jobs in the area and had a cumulative benefit to the West Texas economy of $61 million.
“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides, and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said . “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS, and it’s a big factor in the West Texas economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain communities in this remote part of Texas.”
Visitation to Big Bend National Park in 2021 set an all-time record and was up by 25 percent over 2019, the previous record visitation year for the park.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists from the NPS and the U.S. Geological Survey. Nationwide, the report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities near a national park unit.
This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion.
The lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurant sector was had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally. Big Bend saw a similar pattern, with lodging accounting for 26% of the economic impact and restaurants 16%.
Direct visitor spending also generates indirect impacts on the economy from sales, income and employment resulting from local businesses purchasing supplies and labor, and employees spending their incomes in the local economy. This totaled 30% of the economic impact from visitors to Big Bend National Park.
Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore 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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
To learn more about national parks in Texas and how the National Park Service works with Texas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/texas.
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