A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 552,000 visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park in 2019 spent $48.1 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 637 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $66.1 million.
“We have been happy to welcome people back to Mammoth Cave National Park and are excited to continue to share the story of this remarkable place and the memorable experiences the park provides,” said Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “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 continued partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain our local communities in Kentucky’s cave country.”
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 $21 billion of direct spending by more than 327 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 340,500 jobs nationally; 278,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $41.7 billion.
In the national study, lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $7.1 billion in 2019. The restaurant sector had the next greatest effects with $4.2 billion in economic output. Motor vehicle fuel expenditures were $2.16 billion with retail spending at $1.93 billion.
Nationwide visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries also supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.
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 Kentucky and how the National Park Service works with Kentucky communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/KENTUCKY.
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