Tourism to Yosemite National Park Creates $624,129,000 in Economic Benefits

May 24, 2019 – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 4,009,438 visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2018 spent $495,245,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 6,184 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $624,129,000.

“Over 4 million visitors a year come from California, across the United States, and all over the world to experience the natural and cultural wonders of Yosemite National Park,” said Yosemite Superintendent Michael Reynolds. “We are proud to work with our gateway communities to help park visitors discover deep and lasting connections to Yosemite and the surrounding area. 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. We appreciate the partnership and support of our gateway partners and neighbors.”

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The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

To learn more about national parks in California and how the National Park Service works with California communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/ca/index.htm.