Cape Hatteras National Seashore spurs $226 million in visitor spending during record 2021

Cape Hatteras National Seashore spurs $226 million in visitor spending during record 2021

July 8th, 2022

After experiencing the highest number of visitors on record, a new study found Cape Hatteras National Seashore was responsible for generating $226 million in visitor-related spending in 2021.

When combined with Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island, visitor spending adjacent to the three Outer Banks national parks totaled $276.5 million.

The total estimated value of the production of goods and services from visitor spending near park lands is used to determine the economic impact of the National Park Service’s 423 areas, according to the survey released in June.

Expenditures by the 3.2 million visitors to the nation’s first national seashore supported a total of 3,200 jobs, $92.1 million in labor income, $158 million in value added, and $294 million in economic output.

Breakdown of 2021 Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor spending [source National Park Service]

Hotels/lodging comprised the largest percentage of spending at $75.2 million, followed by restaurants ($44.1 million), gas ($39.5 million), retail ($20.2 million), recreation industries ($16.1 million), groceries ($15.4 million), transportation ($11 million) and camping ($4.9 million).

The largest number of jobs directly effected by Seashore visitor spending were in the hotel/lodging sector, which generated $24.7 million in wages.

The busts of Orville and Wilbur Wright at the base of the memorial pylon on Big Kill Devil Hill. [NPS photo]

Wright Brothers National Memorial, where the first flight took place, had 482,000 visitors, spending $31.4 million, with expenditures supporting 461 jobs, $13.4 million in labor income, $22.7 million in value added, and $42.5 million in economic output.

293,000 people visited Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, home of The Lost Colony outdoor drama, spent an estimated $19.1 million, supporting 280 jobs, $8.1 million in labor income, $13.7 million in value added, and $25.6 million in economic output.

Native American dancers perform prior to The Lost Colony at Waterside Theatre on select nights in 2022. [courtesy Roanoke Island Historical Association]

Other findings in the survey showed Cape Hatteras National Seashore generated the third-most visitor spending in North Carolina in 2021.

The state’s top two are also the most popular National Park Service sites in the country, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, combined for $1.3 billion in visitor spending last year.

North Carolina with $1.7 billion was second only to California when it comes to national parks-related visitor spending

The full 72-page report can be found at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

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