Editorial: Grand Canyon has a substantial impact on our local economy
A new National Park Service (NPS) report released earlier this month shows that almost 4.4 million visitors spent more than $415 million in Grand Canyon National Park and in gateway regions around the park in 2010. In addition, visitor spending supported 6,167 jobs in the local area. The four economic/job sectors most impacted by this visitor spending were lodging, restaurants, retail trade and entertainment/amusement.
These figures are based on $12.1 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in and around 394 national park units around the country and are included in an annual peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for NPS. According to the analysis, the 22 national park units in Arizona alone attracted more than 10.5 million visitors who spent approximately $671 million and supported 9,661 jobs in the state.
Across the U.S., local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
It would be great if these numbers continue to rise. Our community relies heavily on tourism, and this is not expected to change anytime soon. Spring break typically kicks off our tourism season. Williams is fortunate to serve as home to two major attractions - Bearizona and Grand Canyon Railway - in northern Arizona. We must do all we can to capitalize on increased visitation. Williams is a tourist town; let's strive to be the best we can be. If we succeed, we all win.