East Hawaii News

NPS Reports National Park Economic Impact

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With park visitation up by 6.9 percent from 2013, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park had 1,693,005 visitors in 2014. The numbers come from a recent National Park Service report. Of the over 1.5 million visitors, the report says that $136,838,700 was spent in communities surrounding the park area. Additionally, 1,672 jobs were supported on the island.

The NPS report added that the cumulative benefit HVNP had on the local community was $170,878,000.

Last year’s increase in park visitation continued the rising trend since 2009. HVNP, which is home to two of the earth’s most active volcanoes, will celebrate in 100th anniversary in 2016.

“It’s heartening to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the significant 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.”


United States Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and NPS economist Lynne Koontz conducted the peer-viewed visitor spending analysis. According to the report, $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park occur each year. In the nation, the spending supported 277,000 jobs, 235,600 of which  were within the “gateway” communities. The report give the figure of $29.7 billion in benefit to the U.S. economy.

In 2014, a total of 2,282,752 people visited the four national parks on the Big Island. Those visitors spend a $175,579,100 in communities near the parks and the spending supported 2,162 jobs. According to the NPS report, the combined cumulative benefit visitors of the four parks had on the local community was $248,036,200.

“The popularity of the national parks of Hawai‘i Island is no surprise as Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is the most popular attraction on the island and sometimes the state.  Hawai‘i Island as a whole has seen increases in visitor arrivals, length of stay and total spending over the last few years and we can attribute this success to the popularity of these amazing attractions. We have a very strong relationship with the National Park Service and through this we can promote these assets and drive sustainable demand for Hawai‘i Island,” said Ross Birch, Executive Director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau.


Visitor spending in 2014 was divided between the following: lodging, 30.6 percent; food and beverages, 20.3 percent; gas and oil, 11.9 percent; admissions and fees, 10.2 percent; and souvenirs and other expenses, 9.9 percent.

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