A new National Park Service report shows more than 1.3 million visitors to Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 2021 spent more than $64 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 886 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of almost $73.9 million.
“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat, hire outfitters and guides and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said Superintendent Jason Lott. “At Ozark National Scenic Riverways, we are excited to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion.
As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally.
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 Missouri and how the National Park Service works with Missouri communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide outdoor recreation, go to http://www.nps.gov/missouri.