MOOSE WY — A new report released today concludes that visitors to Grand Teton National Park in 2015 spent an estimated $560 million in local gateway communities. The ripple effects of that spending had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of over $728 million and supported 8,862 jobs in nearby communities such as Jackson, Teton Village, and Dubois, WY as well as Victor and Driggs, ID. As it did in 2014, Grand Teton ranked among the top five national park areas in terms of economic benefit along with Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Denali National Park &Preserve.
“My staff, as well as that of our partners and concessioners, welcomed over 3.1 million recreational visitors to Grand Teton National Park in 2015,” said Superintendent David Vela. “We are proud to share the story of this place with those visitors and introduce them to this part of the country. National park tourism is a significant driver in our national and local economy, returning over $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. While we are primarily responsible for the preservation and visitor enjoyment of park resources, we also value the health and sustainability of our local economy and our partnerships with the communities that help serve travelers from across the country and around the world.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally;252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
Report authors also produced an interactive tool, which is new this year, to illustrate their findings. Users can explore current year 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 full report are available at the National Park Service Social Science Program web page.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. National park visitors spent an estimated $890 million in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands in Wyoming.