TUPELO – Visitors on the Natchez Trace Parkway spent nearly $126 million and help support more than 1,550 jobs, according to a new National Park Service report.
The report for 2012 showed that 5.6 million recreational visitors to the Parkway spent more than $22 each, contributing $125.9 million in the communities surrounding the 444-mile roadway that stretches through 41 communities in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
“We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world,” said NTP Superintendent Mary Risser. “We are delighted to share the story of this place, the experiences it provides and to use the Park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.”
Risser said National Park tourism returns $10 for every $1 invested in the Nations Park Service.
“And it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” she said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”
The spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and the National Park Service’s Lynn Koontz.
The report also showed $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities. According to the authors, the cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy is $26.75 billion.
According to the report, most visitors’ spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27percent) and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).