New River Tourism creates local jobs - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

New River Tourism creates local jobs

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A recent National Park Service report shows that 1,280,320 visitors to New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2012 spent $51,466,744 million in communities near the park, supporting 685 area jobs.

"The National Parks of Southern West Virginia are a wonderful place to learn about America's story," said Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. "We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world that come here to experience the park and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know this amazing part of the country."

According to the report, most visitor spending — 39 percent — supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, 27 percent goes to hotels, motels and B&Bs and other amusement and recreation receives 20 percent.

"National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service — and it's a big factor in our local economy as well," Kicklighter said. "We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are proud to be such an integral part of the communities' economy."

The spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists for the National Park Service.

The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park nationwide. The spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs in the communities and a cumulative U.S. economic benefit of $26.75 billion.