Visitors to national parks in northern Arizona spent $1 billion

Clouds pass over the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon Village, Ariz.,...
Clouds pass over the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon Village, Ariz., Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(Alex Brandon | AP)
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 4:15 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Communities in northern Arizona get a big economic boost thanks to national parks, a new report shows. The National Park Service Visitor Spend Effects report for 2022 was recently released, and it shows visitors to the Grand Canyon spent $759 million last year in the so-called “gateway communities,” which is the highest amount since 2019. Those communities include Tusayan, Williams and Cameron.

About $260 million was for hotels, while $135 million was for recreation. Visitors spent $126 million at restaurants. However, the total is far below the record of $947 million seen in 2018. The Grand Canyon has yet to see the number of visitors return to pre-pandemic levels, with 4.7 million visitors in 2022. About 6.4 million people visited the natural wonder in 2018.

Visitors to Lake Mead, on the Arizona-Nevada border, also helped nearby cities and towns. In all, 5.6 million park visitors spent $280 million, supporting 3,020 jobs. Another $75 million was spent on lodging, while $62.3 million was spent on restaurants. Gas came in third at $49.2 million. The total was a significant drop from 2021 when visitors spent a record $374 million in the areas near Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Other parks in Arizona also made the list. Visitors to the Petrified Forest near Holbrook brought in $36.8 million, while Canyon de Chelly visitors spent $27 million. For the full report, click/tap here.

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