New Report shows visitor spending supports more than 3,200 jobs in South Florida

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2.9 million visitors to the four NPS units in South Florida collectively spent $242.5 million in 2019.

That spending resulted in 3,251 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the South Florida economy of $352.2 million.

The four NPS units in South Florida—Big Cypress National Preserve and Biscayne, Dry Tortugas and Everglades National Parks—neighbor surrounding communities from Miami/Fort Lauderdale west to Naples and south to the Florida Keys.

Big Cypress National Preserve added $81.5 million in visitor spending and 1,080 jobs to area economies.

Biscayne National Park boosted the local economy with visitors spending $46.2 million on hotels, gas, restaurants, and other services resulting in 606 jobs in the local communities.

Dry Tortugas National Park, in spite of its remote location, generated $4.8 million through visitor spending and 55 jobs. Everglades National Park added a total of $110 million in visitor spending and provided 1,510 jobs.

“We have been safely increasing access to the four South Florida National Parks and Preserve that support individual and collective physical and mental wellness,” said Superintendent Pedro Ramos, who has oversight for the four South Florida NPS sites.

“We welcome back our communities and our visitors from afar and are excited to share the stories of these places and the experiences they offer. Our national parks and preserve help draw visitors to the area, and their spending supports the economies of the surrounding communities.”

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 $21 billion of direct spending by more than 327 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park or other NPS site. This spending supported 341,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $41.7 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $7.1 billion in 2019. Food expenses are the second largest spending area, and visitors spent $4.2 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 60,500 jobs and more than 64,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 29,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

Report authors also produced 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 individual park data as well as year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program - https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

To learn more about the NPS in South Florida and how we work with our surrounding communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Florida or to the individual park websites:

Big Cypress National Preserve – www.nps.gov/bicy

Biscayne National Park – www.nps.gov/bisc

Dry Tortugas National Park – www.nps.gov/drto

Everglades National Park – www.nps.gov/ever

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