Visitors to Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 2015 supported 979 local jobs and provided more than $77 million to the local economy, according to a new report.
The National Park Service report also found that more than 1 million tourists spent upward of $63 million in the parks and surrounding communities this past year.
Park superintendent Brad Bennett said he welcomes visitors from around the country and the world, and the tourists benefit the local economy.
“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,” Bennett said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”
Economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service, who conducted the report, found that 307.2 million park visitors spent $16.9 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park.
This tourism provided 295,000 jobs on the national level, with 252,000 of those jobs in gateway communities. Visitation also accumulated $32 billion for the U.S. economy.
According to the study, 31.1 percent of spending was on lodging, 20.2 percent on food and beverage, 11.8 percent on gas and oil, 10.2 percent on admissions and fees, and 9.8 percent on souvenirs and miscellaneous expenses.
To download the report, click here.