A new National Park Service report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.
“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said in a written statement. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kilauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the reopening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.
Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and islandwide, visit the park, which is the state’s top tourist attraction.
“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 neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.
The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation tothe park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.
The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).