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National parks pump millions into Hawaii’s economy

    The Mcfarlane family from Scotland were the first visitors to enter the newly reopened Volcanoes National Park today and got to enjoy the view of Halemaumau Crater from Steaming Bluffs before their flight back home tonight.

Some 5.2 million people visited Hawaii’s national parks last year generating an estimated $417.3 million in cumulative economic benefits, according to a visitor spending report released on Thursday by the National Park Service. 

Hawaii national park visitors in 2014 spent $340.5 million in the state, which resulted in an estimated 4,202 jobs. The direct spending created a trickle-down impact that drove overall economic figures higher.

“The national parks of Hawaii attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long vacation, visitors come for a great experience, and end up spending some money along the way.”

The national parks in Hawaii include:  Haleakala National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

Lehnertz said the new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver for the U.S. economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The national report, which was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists, shows 292.8 million park visitors pumped $15.7 billion of direct spending into communities that are within 60 miles of a national park. Spending by national park visitors throughout the U.S. supported 277,000 jobs and added an estimated $29.7 billion in cumulative economic benefits to the U.S. economy.

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