National Seashore creates $47 million in Mississippi’s economy

"The islands actually span from the west Cat Island to the east at Petit Bois and they're all...
"The islands actually span from the west Cat Island to the east at Petit Bois and they're all part of Gulf Islands National Seashore," said Gulf Islands Ranger Chris Bramblett. (Photo source: WLOX)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:55 AM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - A small percent of Mississippi’s 2020 economy is thanks to Gulf Island visitors.

According to a new National Park Service report, more than four million visitors traveled to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in 2020. They spent $180 million in nearby communities. This includes $37 million in Mississippi, which created an economic benefit of about $47 million.

According to the report, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects at around 28 percent of the total visitor spending. The restaurant sector had the second greatest effect at around 22.5 percent.

The Gulf Islands is also celebrating its 50 anniversary in 2021. As the nation’s largest national seashore in the park service, it has a tremendous visitation rate from Cat Island to the Petit Bois.

“We appreciate the support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to help to sustain our local communities,” said Darrell Echols, GUIS superintendent. “The seashore’s success wouldn’t be possible without all our partners. As the new superintendent, I hope to strengthen our relationship with the surrounding communities to enhance the visitor’s experience and preserve the seashore for many years to come.”

Economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis. The report shows $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $28.6 billion.

Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value-added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies.

Users can also view year-by-year trend data on the NPS Social Science Program page.

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