Mar 3, 2014 3:45 PM by Jonathan Ward
TUCSON - A new report from the National Park Service (NPS) paints a picture of the economic impact Tucson's two nearby national parks have on the city. In 2012, 634,286 visitors to Saguaro National Park spent $37.5 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 526 jobs in the local area.
"Saguaro National Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Darla Sidles. "We are happy to share the story of the iconic saguaro cactus, the diversity of the Sonoran desert, and the experiences the park provides to all visitors."
According to the NPS, National park tourism also contributes significantly in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested in 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.
The NPS report also says 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).