HERALD STAFF REPORT
BRADENTON -- A new National Park Service report shows that 316,270 visitors to De Soto National Memorial in 2015 spent $16 million in areas near the park. That spending supported 253 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $22.5 million, the report stated.
"De Soto National Memorial welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," said Jorge Acevedo, superintendent of De Soto National. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. "We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers," he said in a press release. "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 a big factor in our local economy as well."
The 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 $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion, the release stated.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
For more information, go to the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.