Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Estimating visitor use and economic contributions of National Park visitor spending

July 12, 2019

This chapter provides an overview of the National Park Service (NPS) methods for estimating visitor spending and calculating economic contributions of visitor spending in terms of jobs supported, wage and labor income, and total economic activity. The Visitor Spending Effects model combines visitor spending patterns and trip characteristic data with visitor use data to estimate total visitor spending. Economic contributions measure the total economic activity within a regional economy stemming from visitor spending, and include the effects of spending by both local visitors who live within gateway regions and non-local visitors who travel to NPS sites from outside of gateway regions. The Social Science Program collaborates with individual parks to develop visitor counting instructions that contain the procedures for measuring, compiling, and recording required visitor use data. Visitor surveys are used to collect the essential visitor spending and trip characteristic data necessary for developing spending profiles to represent distinct visitor spending patterns for each park.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Estimating visitor use and economic contributions of National Park visitor spending
DOI 10.4324/9781351055789
Authors Lynne Koontz, Catherine Cullinane Thomas
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70210198
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center