Amid Recession, Visitors Flock to National Parks

Every dollar spent on parks generates $4 in spending
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 29, 2008 6:38 AM CST
Travelers from the Netherlands wait in New York to be picked up by a tour bus to take them to Washington, DC.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – 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.