Visitation to HVNP Creates $166 Million in Economic Benefits

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) continues to be one of the number one visitor attractions in the State of Hawai‘i and a new National Park Service report shows that 2,016,702 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2017 spent $166 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,020 jobs in the local area, and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $222,394,900.

Visitors eager to see the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater​ at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano gather along the overlook at Jaggar Museum in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
NPS Photo/Janice Wei

“Visitation continues to rise at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and visitors from all over the world continue to support our local communities when they explore Kīlauea and Mauna Loa by spending their money on lodging, dining, shopping and more,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “It’s interesting to compare the eruptive patterns of our volcanoes, and align that to increased visitation, there’s definitely a parallel.”

Kīlauea continues to erupt from two locations, in the remote East Rift Zone flank, and from a vent within the summit crater, Halema‘uma‘u. This week, which happens to be National Park Week, lava rose to the edge of the vent rim, and has spilled out onto the crater floor several times, drawing thousands of visitors each day.

Since the summit eruption began in 2008, visitation to the park has increased by 58%.


The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9%) followed by food and beverages (27.5%), gas and oil (12.1%), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1%), admissions and fees (10.0%) and local transportation (7.5%).


Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore 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 available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments