YORKTOWN — A new National Park Service report shows the 3.1 million visitors to Colonial National Historical Park in 2021 spent $337 million in the surrounding area, matching the record spending set in 2019.
“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 and make use of local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said CNHP Superintendent Jerri Marr.
Colonial National Historical Park includes Historic Jamestowne, Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Parkway and Green Spring Plantation on the Peninsula, and the Cape Henry Memorial in Virginia Beach.
The study shows 3,114,420 visitors to Colonial National Historical Park in 2021 spent $336,833,000 within a 60-mile radius of the Historic Triangle.
Lodging was the top sector for spending with $132 million, followed by restaurants ($79.8 million), recreation industries ($35.7 million), retail ($29.8 million), fuel ($21.5 million), transportation ($16.4 million), groceries ($15 million), camping ($6.7 million).
The spending supported 5,039 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $453,114,000.
The lodging sector led the jobs category at 1,450, then restaurants (1,160), secondary effects which are jobs generated from the primary sectors (1,040), recreation industries (624), retail (356), transportation (197), camping (100), groceries (69) and fuel (46).
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Nationally, $20.5 billion of direct spending was generated 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.
To learn more about national parks in Virginia and how the National Park Service works with state name communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to the NPS Virginia webpage.