A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 8,414,094 visitors to national parks in Tennessee spent $541 million and supported 7,868 jobs in the state in 2012.
"Tennessee has become a world player in tourism," said Stan Austin, NPS Southeast Regional Director. "Beyond its beauty and recreation, the state has been home to presidents and poets. Some of the most ferocious fighting of the American Civil War occurred in the forests of Tennessee.
The national parks in Tennessee are Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park, Stones River National Battlefield, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Obed Wild and Scenic Rivers, and portions of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.
The report shows $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, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.
According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).