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Great Smoky Mountain tourism gives economy $1.38 billion boost

The report said there were 12,095,721 visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020.

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020 gave the local economy a more than $1.3 billion boost, according to a new National Park Service (NPS) report.

The report said there were 12,095,721 visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020. They spent $1,024,024,000 in communities near the park, which in turn, supported 14,707 jobs in the area. This had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $1.38 billion, according to the report.

“In spite of an incredibly difficult year in the world and in our neighboring communities, we are proud to have worked alongside our communities to serve visitors to this area in 2020,” GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash said. “We remain committed to safely serving visitors in our communities and the park as they continue to explore our area and find the amazing resources the Smokies have to offer.” 

RELATED: Smoky Mountains attract around 12 million visitors in 2020, brings revenue to nearby areas

Economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis. The report showed $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. 

This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally with the cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy being $28.6 billion, according to the report.

The report said lodging had the highest direct effects, with $5 billion in economic output. Restaurants had the second greatest effects, with $3 billion in economic output.

You can learn more about the data in the report on the National Park Service website.