New Report Highlights Economic Benefits of National Historical Parks in Virginia

Date:   September 12, 2011
Contact:   Pam Goddard, Chesapeake and Virginia Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association P: 202.454.3365, C: 202.604.3781
Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association P: 202.454.3332, C: 202.384.8762

New Report Highlights Economic Benefits of National Historical Parks in Virginia

Colonial National Historical Park enhances vitality and the economy in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Yorktown, Va. – The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today released a new report which highlights the strong financial benefits provided by Colonial National Historical Park and the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The report, Making Connections: Colonial National Historical Park Enhances Economic Vitality in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, finds that Colonial National Historical Park is a strong economic driver for the region, providing jobs and highly desired open space and recreational opportunities for the millions of visitors that come to the state each year to experience the birthplace of American democracy.

“Tourism is an $18 billion industry in Virginia,” said Pam Goddard, NPCA’s Chesapeake and Virginia program manager. “Colonial National Historical Park contributes to the thriving industry by attracting visitors to experience the park’s historic sites such as the Yorktown battlefield and the Jamestown glassblowing studio, spending money and supporting the local economy.”

The report finds that the park attracted 363,000 visitors last year, spending an estimated $327 million in the Historic Triangle region.  Notably, this spending supported 1,184 local private-sector jobs while the National Park Service directly employed 81 staff members at the park.

“The national park and historic sites in the Historic Triangle are among the top 25 destinations for visitors to the Commonwealth,” said Goddard.  “Citizens retreat to these special places to see American history come to life and to enjoy the great outdoor space and recreational opportunities.”

Making Connections also highlights the positive impact a new national park at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia would have on the Historic Triangle and the local economy. Drawing nearly 23 million recreational visitors last year, Virginia’s national parks foster nearly $500 million in non-local visitor spending annually, with value-added economic benefits beyond that. 

“There is a growing demand for recreational opportunities throughout the state for hiking, birding, boating and other outdoor activities,” said Goddard. “The Old Point Comfort Peninsula offers public access to over two miles of beautiful Chesapeake Bay shoreline, camping facilities and a marina.  Fort Monroe’s rich history and beaches will create a world-class destination and infuse tourist dollars into the regional economy.”

Virginia tourism is one of the few industries that continue to grow in the current economic climate. Four out of ten jobs in the area are in tourism-related businesses.  A national study commissioned by NPCA found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public.  The addition of a park at Fort Monroe will complement Virginia’s Historic Triangle and boost local economies.

The National Park Service predicts a dramatic increase in Civil War park visitation during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.  The region faces a remarkable opportunity to expand upon its tourism industry and recreational amenities in ways that are compatible with the Historic Triangle’s character. The addition of Fort Monroe would benefit area residents, as well as the heritage travelers that visit the region. The future of America’s next greatest urban national park lies in its storied past. 

To view the full report, please click here.



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