2018 tourism to CGNHP created $44.1 million in economic benefits

Published 4:03 pm Monday, June 10, 2019

A new national park service study shows that in 2018, 684,191 park visitors spent an estimated $44.1 million in local gateway regions while visiting Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. These expenditures supported a total of 603 jobs, $18.8 million in labor income, $32.3 million in value added, and $56.4 million in economic output in gateway economies surrounding the park located at the junction of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Nationwide, visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the overall economy and supported 329,000 jobs.

“Cumberland Gap is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” says Acting Superintendent Allen Etheridge. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to Appalachia and all that it offers.”

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Etheridge further explains that this spending certainly complements the goals of the local communities and counties and the many initiatives in which all are involved to improve tourism in the area.

“Working cohesively with the local communities and many groups, imagine the multiplier effect of this $44.1 million as folks extend their visits and participate in other exciting activities offered in the area.”

In 2018, a unique medley of activities celebrated Cumberland Gap as a legendary land. A highlight of the year was the opportunity for students and visitors to explore CaveSim, the world’s only artificial cave built in a trailer.

In 2019, national park staff and nearby Wilderness Road State Park in Virginia will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Daniel Boone’s excursion into Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap. Festivities are scheduled for Sept. 14 and 15. The park will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Iron Furnace. Activities will coincide with the October 18 – 20 Geneology Jamboree hosted in the town of Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

The peer-reviewed economics report was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by parks and by states on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.

To download the report visit www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia and how the National Park Service works with communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide local recreation opportunities, go to www.nps.gov/kentucky, www.nps.gov/tennessee or www.nps.gov/virginia.