Tourism to local National Historic Sites creates economic benefits

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Report shows visitor spending supports 199 jobs in local economy
AMERICUS — A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 134,216 visitors to Andersonville National Historic Site and 66,440 visitors to Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in 2016 spent $7,847,400 and $3,884,600, respectively, in communities near the parks. That spending supported 133 and 66 jobs, respectively, in the local area. Combined spending at the two parks had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $14,365,600.
“Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and Andersonville National Historic Site welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Jimmy Carter NHS Superintendent Barbara Judy. “We appreciate the many Sumter County and State of Georgia partners that join us in supporting tourism in our community. Their efforts contribute greatly to the success of the national parks in Sumter County.”
“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy,” said Andersonville NHS Superintendent Charles Sellars, “returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. It’s a big factor in our local economy as well.”
“Each part of Andersonville National Historic Site draws visitors with unique interests,” Sellars continued. “Camp Sumter military prison brings visitors interested in the Civil War or in researching ancestors who were here as prisoners or guards. The National Prisoner of War Museum draws those interested in human rights and also many former prisoners of war and their families. Andersonville National Cemetery continues to serve as a final resting place for veterans today and brings family members and descendants to the site. The park also receives many visitors interested in supporting and learning about America’s military. We appreciate the terrific partnership and support of our neighbors in both Sumter and Macon counties and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local 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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.
According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5 percent).
Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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:
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Georgia and how the National Park Service works with Georgia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to