The nearly 8.5 million visitors to national parks in Tennessee in 2014 spent $571.1 million, boosting the state's economy by $785.9 million, according to a new National Park Service report.
"The national parks of Tennessee attract visitors from across the country and around the world," said Stan Austin, NPS regional director, in a news release. "Whether visitors come to explore the great wild areas of Tennessee like Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area and Great Smoky Mountain National Park with their miles of hiking trails, or the number of historic parks which focus on the Civil War's impact telling the story of America's struggles, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up having an economic benefit to the communities they visit. 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."
Along with the economic benefits, visitor spending created nearly 9,000 jobs.
When breaking down how visitors spent their money, lodging accounted for 30.6 percent, food and drinks totaled 20.3 percent, fuel equaled 11.9 ...