Visitors to Hawaii’s national parks spent almost $400 million in the state last year. A new National Park Service report shows that in 2016, nearly 5.8 million visitors to national parks in Hawaii spent more than $394 million. That spending resulted in nearly 4,800 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of more than $486 million.
“The national parks of Hawaii attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Laura Joss, regional director for National Park Service’s Pacific West Region. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way. This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy–returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service–and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”
There are eight national parks in Hawaii including Haleakala National Park on Maui. Additional popular parks in the state include Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and World War II Valor in the Pacific, which includes Pearl Harbor on Oahu.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.
According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).
Report authors this year produced an interactive tool in addition to accumulating data. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data.
The interactive tool and report are available at the Park Service’s Social Science Program webpage: Go.nps.gov/vse. The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Hawaii and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to Nps.gov/hawaii.
Photo of sunrise in Kipahulu: Chris Archer