A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 438,601 visitors to Virgin Islands National Park on St. John in 2013 spent $64,671,500 in communities near the park. That spending supported 798 jobs in the local area.
“Virgin Islands is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Brion FitzGerald. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides, and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to the Caribbean and to the U.S. Territory of the Virgin Islands. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and it’s a big factor in our local 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 local communities.”
The peer-reviewed, visitor-spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for NPS. The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).
To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in the U.S. Virgin Islands and how the National Park Service works with the people of the Virgin Islands to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/state/vi.
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