A National Park Service (NPS) report published this month shows more than 800,000 visitors to Vancouver’s Fort Vancouver National Historic Site spent $46.9 million in communities near the park in 2015. That spending supported 792 jobs in the area and accounted for $25.3 million in labor income.
According to the report, nearly 25 percent of the jobs supported by park visitors are in the restaurant category. The hotel industry followed at more than 21 percent, while retail and recreation industries each came in around 9 percent. Other jobs were lumped into a category termed “secondary effects” (economic multiplier effects).
Most of the park’s visitor spending was in lodging (31.7 percent), followed by food and beverages (22 percent), gas and oil (13.1 percent) and retail (11.7 percent). All told, the park had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $67.5 million in 2015 – a 36 percent increase over 2012.
“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,” said Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”
Fortmann said that visitation at the site continues to grow steadily, thanks in part to a variety of public events, educational programs, partnered activities and permitted events.
While visitor spending at the national park positively contributes to the local economy, Teresa L. Brum, economic development division manager for the city of Vancouver, said the park’s true economic impact is much greater than that.
“Visitor spending is only one way that the park contributes to our local economy,” said Brum. “There’s also a more indirect impact: the park gives Vancouver a differentiating factor that sets us apart and helps get us noticed. The entrepreneurs and established business leaders that we want to attract and grow in Vancouver want to be in creative and interesting spaces, and when we talk about Vancouver to businesses, they’re pleasantly surprised and impressed to find that downtown’s next door neighbor is this big beautiful cultural and natural area; and that’s one thing that makes us unlike any other city on the West Coast – except for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. When good quality living environments like ours attract and retain both residents and visitors, that in turn helps grow our local economy.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service. View the full report by visiting www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.