National park tourists gave Virginia a $1.26 billion boost in 2014

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A new National Park Service report shows that visitors to Virginia’s national parks in 2014 had an economic impact on the state of nearly $1.26 billion, supporting 14,753 local jobs.

Overall, Virginia’s national parks had almost 22.9 million visitors last year, who spent $929.3 million in the state. That’s up from $870.9 million that national parks visitors spent in Virginia the year before.

The report was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber, and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The peer-reviewed report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs (9.9 percent).

The National Park Service has nearly 20 parks and historic sites in Virginia.

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