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Yellowstone Visitors Contribute $630M to Local Economy in 2017

According to a new National Park Service report, visitors to Yellowstone National Park in 2017 spent nearly $500 million in communities near the park.

In addition, visitor spending supported 7,354 jobs.

According to a Yellowstone press release, visitors spent $498.8 million in Yellowstone in 2017. Cumulatively, visitor spending in and around Yellowstone generated $629.8 million for the local economy. From the release:

“Yellowstone welcomes people from across the country and around the world who contribute significantly to the local economies in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “The economic benefits our neighbors enjoy are a direct result of preserving Yellowstone’s abundant wildlife, spectacular thermal features, and dramatic scenery. As we look to the future, preservation has to be the key value we consider as we address increasing visitation. Protecting the park also protects the regional tourism economy.”

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 $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

You can read the report here.

In addition to the report, the NPS also has a site with all the data available on a park-by-park basis.

Looking at Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone ranked in the top 10 for visitor spending, coming in at 6th. You can see the list below, courtesy of the NPS:

1. Blue Ridge ($1 billion)
2. Great Smoky Mountains ($923 million)
3. Grand Canyon ($667 million)
4. Denali ($632 million)
5. Grand Teton ($590 million)
6. Yellowstone ($499 million)
7. Yosemite ($452 million)
8. Golden Gate ($365 million)
9. Glen Canyon ($361 million)
10. Lake Mead ($336 million)

In addition here you can see the breakdown of where visitors spent money, courtesy of the NPS:

• Hotels/Camping (35.94 percent)
• Restaurants/Groceries (22.03 percent)
• Recreation (11.07 percent)
• Local Transportation (10.52 percent)
• Gas and Oil (10.22 percent)
• Retail (10.22 percent)

In 2016, Yellowstone visitors contributed $680.4 million to the local economy, with visitors spending $524.3 million in Yellowstone National Park.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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