Sleeping Bear tourism creates over $150 million in local economic benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 2,818 jobs in local economy

From staff reports

A new National Park Service report shows that 1,531,560 visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 2012 spent nearly $152 million in communities near the Park. That spending supported 2,818 jobs in the local area.

“Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” superintendent Dusty Shultz said in a news release. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides, and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National Park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS — and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

“After being named the Most Beautiful Place in America in 2011 by the viewers of Good Morning America, the National Lakeshore saw the highest number of visitors on record in 2012,” continued Shultz. “More people have now experienced the remarkable natural and cultural resources and beauty of this area. We anticipate the park will continue to see strong visitation.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a National Park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

Download the report here. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.