Local economies enjoyed a federal bailout of sorts from National Parks visitors, who spent $11.8 billion in businesses surrounding parks and monuments last year. For every government dollar dispensed on upkeep and some 200,000 workers, $4 were generated in local spending, reports the Washington Times. Sales were up 8.7% last year, but parks have seen a slowdown in recent months.
Lodging accounted for more than half of the spending, followed by transport and souvenirs. But recent travelers are shaving some of those costs. A family visiting DC reported that they were staying with relatives to save money. Another couple traveled from New York on a special $1 bus, and planned to spend money only on hot chocolate and a decent meal.