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Visitors to Arizona and Utah Parks Impact Local Economies

July 23
13:46 2014

Horseshoe BendThe 16-day government shut-down in October of 2013 caused a significant reduction in revenue for the Grand Circle area impacting the city of Page as well as Marble Canyon, Fredonia, Kanab, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  With the rebuilding underway of a collapsed section of Highway 89, it is hoped that 2014-15 will bring a greater number of visitors and revenue to local businesses.

See US 89 Landslide Repairs to Begin Later This Month

The economic benefits of the National Parks to the surrounding communities include 11,700 jobs in Arizona. There are twenty national parks in the state of Arizona bringing in ten million visitors. Visitor spending in Arizona’s National Parks, including Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, was more than $700 million in 2013.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon visitors, over 4,500,000 of them, spent over $476 million in communities near the park in 2013 according to the National Park Service. Nationwide, more than 273 million visitors spent $14.6 billion directly on parks and nearby “gateway” communities, according to the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by US Geological Survey economists. Gateway communities are those within sixty miles of a national park.

Utah National Parks

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 3,324,956 visitors to Zion National Park, and Cedar Breaks and Pipe Spring National Monuments in 2013 spent $175,580,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,155 jobs in the local area.

Zion National Park is truly a world destination.  It has become a hub where people begin their vacations then branch out to experience the many other area attractions,” said Zion Acting Superintendent Cindy Purcell, “Local communities help enhance the visitor experience by providing restaurant, lodging, and guiding services. For every $1 invested in the National Park Service, visitor spending creates a return rate of $10.” — Cindy Purcell

Zion’s visitation generated an estimated $147,000,000 and 1,763 jobs for local communities.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Visitors to Cedar Breaks brought in an estimated $25,710,600 and 353 jobs to the local area in 2013. John Hiscock, Superintendent of Pipe Spring National Monument, stated,

Pipe Spring is a small and historically important site located between Zion and the Grand Canyon National Parks.” In 2013, Pipe Spring generated an estimated $2,817,700.00 and 39 jobs for local communities, based on visitation of 51,118 people. “Visitation to the Monument, and economic and job benefits to the local communities remained relatively close to 2012 levels, but do appear to have been affected by the 16 day Federal government shutdown of Pipe Spring in the fall of 2013.”

According to the 2013 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 were restaurants (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

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