Breckenridge, Colorado

NPS 2021 Spending Effects Report Released – SEM Study Revelations

The recently released, peer-reviewed economics report 2021 National Park Visitor Spending Effects indicates that visits to 423 National Park sites in 2021 contributed $42.5 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 322,600 jobs – most of which were in local gateway communities. This report underscores the significant role that National Parks play not only in the tourism and recreation industries, but in the national economy.

As part of a 5-year contract with the National Park Service (NPS), RRC Associates is proud to be involved in this vital research effort through its work on the new socioeconomic monitoring (SEM) project launched by the NPS in 2022. RRC is part of the core team conducting this study.

By surveying park visitors in 24 parks per year for the next decade or more, the ongoing SEM research will provide data that enables the NPS to better understand actual visitor spending, as well as other important metrics such as visitor demographic profiles, travel patterns, transportation issues, and more.

“Zion National Park was one of the first parks where visitors were surveyed under the new method. The results showed that our previous estimates or ‘profiles’ of average visitors underestimated the time they spent in the park and in gateway communities and we underestimated the amount of money they spent during their trips to the park,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “The new survey information will enable park managers to further improve the visitor experience and guide how to reach and engage with people who have yet to visit a national park.”

In addition to the National Park Service, RRC Associates conducts outdoor recreation and tourism research for other parks and recreation, open space, and tourism entities across the country.

To read highlights from the 2021 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report, click here:   NPS News Release

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