In 2016, Blue Ridge Parkway visitors spent $979.3 million in communities near the park, supporting 15,649 jobs for a cumulative economic impact of $1.3 billion, according to a recent National Park Service report.
Stretching over 469 miles from Cherokee north to Waynesboro, Virginia, the Parkway passes through 29 counties and many villages, towns and cities in two states. Together with other public lands like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pisgah National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, the Parkway is an important draw for visitors to Western North Carolina.
“The Parkway is a strong economic engine for our community, and many others,” said Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. “The 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report reinforces the value of having the Parkway in our county and is an important reminder that tourism to national parks makes a difference for all of us.”
The report shows that park visitors spent the most on lodging, at 31.2 percent of the total value, with food and beverages coming in second at 27.2 percent, followed by admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent) and camping fees (2.5 percent).
The report is online at go.nps.gov/vse.