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National Park Tourism in Alaska Creates $1 Billion+ in Economic Benefit

New report shows visitor spending supports 17,000 jobs

ANCHORAGE – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that more than 2.5 million visitors to national parks in Alaska spent $1.1 billion and supported about 17,000 jobs in the state in 2013.

“The national parks of Alaska attract visitors from local communities, across the country and around the world,” said NPS Alaska Regional Director Bert Frost. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a vacation on a cruise ship, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service - and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”

In Alaska, the three most-visited parks in 2013 were Denali (530,921 visits); Glacier Bay (500,590) and Klondike Gold rush (928,150). About 400 private businesses provide commercial visitor services in Alaska’s 23 national parks.

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 $14.6 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 national 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 nationally 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 by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Alaska and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Alaska.

 

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