By Sam Walker on February 27, 2013A new report from the National Park Service says nearly 2.7 million visitors in 2011 to the three Outer Banks Group parks spent over $131 million in the region.
According to the analysis, spending at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial supported approximately 1,800 jobs on the Outer Banks.
“Enjoyment of the services provided by our neighboring communities is necessary for our visitors to achieve a memorable experience and in turn these visitors contribute money towards the local economy,” said Outer Banks Group park superintendent Barclay Trimble.
The peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country was conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service.
At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1,960,711 recreational visits were recorded in 2011, with 69,366 listed as overnight stays at the four campgrounds in the seashore.
Of $104,173,000 in overall spending within 60 miles of the seashore, $98,959,000 was by non-local visitors.
The report said non-local visitor spending at Cape Hatteras was responsible for 1,349 jobs and $34,713,000 of labor income.
At Wright Brothers National Memorial in 2011, 445,455 visitors spent a total of $16,507,000, with $15,348,000 from out of the area, accounting for 223 jobs that generated $5,800,000 of labor income.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site had 282,134 visitors in 2011, spending an overall of $10,455,000, $9,721,000 coming from non-local visitors, supporting 141 jobs and $3,673,000 of income.
The three parks were impacted by Hurricane Irene in August 2011, limiting access to nearly all of Cape Hatteras National Seashore until November.
According to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s visitation report there was a drop of 382,248 visitors to the seashore for the months of August, September and October between 2010 and 2011.
Nationally, the report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.
Visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide, the report said.
Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent).
“The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state and national economy,” Trimble said.