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NPS Reports 2015 HVNP Economic Impact

Posted April 29, 2016, 12:59 PM HST
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NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The National Park Service has released statistics on visitors and spending at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in 2015.

HVNP had 1,832,660 visitors in 2015, spending a total of $151,246,200 in communities surrounding the park. The numbers are an increase from 2014 numbers by 8.25 percent, where 1,693,005 visitors went through HVNP.

According to the NPS report, the spending supported 1,834 Big Island jobs and had a $189,391,100 cumulative benefit to the local community.

Since 2009, the number of visitors at the park have climbed, according to NPS officials.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

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United States Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and NPS economist Lynne Koontz conducted the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis on a yearly basis.

The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

NPS’ 2015 report notes that lodging made up for the most park visitor spending at 31.1 percent. Food and beverages followed at 20.2 percent, with gas and oil making up the third top expenditure at 11.8 percent. Admission and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent) rounded out visitor spending.

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore the current year’s visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are both available on the NPS Social Science Program webpage.

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