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Hospitality and Tourism

National park visitors pumped $120M into S.C. economy last year

Hospitality and Tourism
Ashley Heffernan
  • Ashley Heffernan
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Fort Sumter had the most visitors of any national park in South Carolina, with about 888,000 visitors in 2016. (Photo/File)

South Carolina’s six national parks had a combined economic output of nearly $120 million last year, according to a report from the National Park Service.

About 1.7 million people visited the parks and spent about $93.5 million in the state. That spending supported 1,426 jobs, the report (.pdf) said.

Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor, which is only accessible by boat, tallied the most visits in the state, with more than 888,000. It also took in the most visitor spending, with nearly $52 million, and had economic output of $65.5 million, the report said.

Nationally, the report found that 331 million park visitors spent $18.4 billion, which supported 318,000 jobs and made a $34.9 billion impact on the U.S. economy.

About 31% of spending was for lodging; food and beverage accounted for roughly 27%; gas and oil made up nearly 12%; admissions and fees added about 10%; souvenirs and other expenses accounted for about 10%; local transportation was 7.4% of the total; and camping fees added 2.5%, the report said.

U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz conducted the visitor spending analysis.

National Park Service visitor data for 2016

National
park

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Mount Pleasant

Congaree National Park,
Hopkins

Cowpens National Battlefield, Chesnee

Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston Harbor

Kings Mountain National Military Park, Blacksburg

Ninety Six National Historic Site, Ninety Six

Recreation
visits

53,184
 

143,843
 

213,299
 

888,331
 

263,357
 

118,002
 

Visitor
spending

$3,109,600
 

$7,307,300
 

$13,734,200
 

$51,939,500
 

$10,527,900
 

$6,899,500
 

Jobs
supported

48
 

101
 

216
 

786
 

166
 

109
 

Economic
output

$3,913,100
 

$8,529,800
 

$18,682,200
 

$65,506,600
 

$14,073,900
 

$8,820,900
 

Source: National Park Service

Reach Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144.

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