According to a recent National Park Service assessment, visitors visiting Utah’s national parks spent an estimated $1.6 billion in surrounding areas in 2021. (NPS).
According to statistics compiled in the 2021 National Park Visitor Spending Effects study, park visitation generated an estimated $2.5 billion in economic production for the Utah economy. According to the analysis, which was completed, and peer-reviewed by department economists, trip-related expenditure to park towns – defined by the government as places within 60 miles of a national park – totaled an estimated $20.5 billion countrywide.
The statistics showed a considerable increase in park visitor expenditure in 2021 compared to 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic was a disincentive to travel and enjoyment. According to the NPS, the total visitor expenditure in 2020 will be $878 million. The $1.6 billion spent by park visitors in 2021 was the biggest in a single year in Utah during the previous decade. According to the data, overall tourist expenditure in pre-pandemic 2019 was $1.2 billion.
“As we continue to welcome families to our parks and public lands across the country,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, “the Interior Department is committed to making investments in our lands and waters that will support tens of thousands of jobs, protect the environment, and help ensure that national parks and public lands are ready to meet the challenges of climate change and increased visitation.”
According to research, accommodation accounted for $610 million, or 32.92 percent, of Utah’s $1.6 billion park visitor expenditure in 2021. The second most expensive category was restaurants, where park visitors spent $273 million. According to the NPS, gas also stole a large portion of the $175 million.
Recreation, shopping, and transportation each represented little more than 8% of overall tourist expenditure in 2021. According to the study, park visitors also spent $108 million on food and $34.5 million on campsites.
According to the Department of the Interior, expenditure by park visitors in areas around national parks boosted the national economy by $42.5 billion.
This year, the National Park Service launched a new socioeconomic monitoring initiative to poll park visitors in 24 sites over the next decade.
“The new survey data will help park managers enhance the visitor experience and determine how to connect and engage those who have yet to visit a national park,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams.
According to Sams, one park recently examined using this technique discovered that visitors often underestimate the time spent in national parks and the amount of money they spend during their visits.