Report: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park brought $113M to local economy

Kilauea Iki crater and trail, one of the most popular vantage points and hiking trails in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi)
Kilauea Iki crater and trail, one of the most popular vantage points and hiking trails in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi)

A new National Park Service report for 2012 shows that the 1,483,928 visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spent $113,376,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,353 jobs in the local area.

“It’s always exciting to share how much of a positive impact our national and international visitors have on the economic viability of our island community,” said park superintendent Cindy Orlando. “On the same note, it’s also worth contemplating what the park means to our Hawaii Island residents. That’s difficult to define with a dollar amount.”

Ross Birch, executive director for the Big Island Visitors Bureau, acknowledged the park’s impact on the island economy.

“Hawaii Island has been on an upward trend in arrivals and spending over the past few years, and a major contributor driving this demand is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,” said Birch. “As the number one attraction for the island, and sometimes the state, it is not a surprise to see the economic impact the park has on our community.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber, and Lynne Koontz 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. 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.

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