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Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes Spent $97 Million, Report Says

Posted February 26, 2013, 11:53 AM HST
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A new report found that visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 2011 spent nearly $97 million in communities around the park.

The spending supported 1,177 jobs in the local area, the National Park Service report said.

The data comes from a peer-reviewed study conducted for the park service by Michigan State University which looks at both visitors to individual parks and their effect statewide.

A similar study last year found that visitors spent $88 million in the Big Island economy.

The report said an estimated 4.8 million people visited the seven national parks in Hawaii in 2011, a 6.5% increase from the year before. Researchers said their spending totaled $278 million and supported 3,329 jobs statewide.

Hawaii Volcanoes was host to 1.35 million visitors in 2011. According to the study, that made it the second most visited National Park Service site in Hawaii following the World War II Valor of the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor which received nearly 1.7 million visitors that year.

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In 2012 an estimated 1.48 million people visited Hawaii Volcanoes, an increase of 9.7% from the year before – which was up 3.6% from 2010.

Park officials said that follows the trend of increasing visitor arrivals which according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority were up 9.4% this past December over the same month in 2011.

“The data is exciting, for the park and for our island communities, which have always understood the positive fiscal impact of the national parks,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said in a statement.

“Our visitation numbers continue to rise at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is the most visited attraction on the island of Hawai‘i. It’s great to share that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economies,” she said.

Nationwide, 279 million spent $13 billion within 60 miles of a national park. The report said that spending had a $30 billion impact on the US economy and supported more than a quarter-million jobs nationwide.

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