Economic impact study underscores importance of park system to tourism
ALBANY, NY – A new economic impact study found that the New York State Park
System and its visitors generated spending of about $5 billion, which
supported nearly 54,000 jobs within the state of New York and over $2.8
billion in state GDP. The study, by the Political Economy Research Institute
at the University of Massachusetts, was commissioned by the park advocacy
group Parks & Trails New York.
The study, Economic Benefits of the New York State Park System, found
that from April 2015 to March 2016, the 67 million visits to the New York
State park system resulted in about $4 billion in spending by local and
non-local visitors. This includes day trips and overnight trips, with
visitors spending money on park entrance and use fees, sporting equipment,
food and drink, transportation, lodging, and other expenses. Visitor
spending has a multiplier effect, as jobs and revenues are created in
supporting industries throughout the local economy. The total economic
significance of the $4 billion in visitor spending is about 45,000 jobs and
$2.4 billion additional state GDP.
In addition, state government funding and spending by partner organizations
for park system operations and capital improvements totaled $543 million.
This funding also has a multiplier effect and supported about 9,000 jobs and
led to $485 million in additional state GDP.
Combining the effects of both visitor spending and state funding, the park
system supported about 54,000 jobs and $5 billion in revenues. In short,
each dollar of state funding supported 9 dollars of sales throughout New
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, “How much
poorer New York would be without its park system – not just in mind and
spirit, but in pocketbook. This report underscores how much of an economic
impact parks have, with each dollar the state spends on parks leading to
about 9 dollars in overall sales. Any way you look at it, parks are a great
Study author Heidi Garrett-Peltier, PhD said, “The beauty and recreational
opportunities parks offer are well known, but this study calls attention to
the vital role parks play in the economy. The New York State Park System is
a real economic engine, supporting $5 billion in sales and 54,000 jobs
annually in the Empire State.”
The report also noted that the parks system offers numerous other benefits
not directly reflected in its economic impact, including potentially
increasing property values for properties near parkland; increasing tax
receipts; reducing pollution; mitigating the impacts of climate change;
promoting health and wellness; and fostering a sense of community.