Assateague generates $116 million to local economy

September 5, 2023
Chincoteague Island Lighthouse. Patrick Henderickson Highcamera Aerial Photographic Service.

By Linda Cicoira

      About 2.3 million people visited the Assateague Island National Seashore last year and spent $116 million in communities within 60 miles of the park, according to the latest National Park Service report. The spending supported more than 1,400 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $139 million,

     “Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks,” said Chuck Sams, the parks director. “With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 300 million visitors every year. The impact of tourism …  is undeniable: bringing jobs and revenue to communities in every state in the country, and making national parks an essential driver to the national economy.”

     “People come to Assateague Island National Seashore to camp, enjoy the beach and bay, and view the wild horses,” said Superintendent Hugh Hawthorne. “We recognize that this tourism is a critical driver to the local economy …”

     Nationwide, the report shows $23.9 billion of direct spending by nearly 312 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 378,400 jobs nationally; 314,600 are jobs in gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $50.3 billion.

       Lodging had the highest direct effects, with $9 billion in economic output nationally. Restaurants were next with $4.6 billion in economic output nationally.

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