Report: Natchez National Historical Park created more than $17M in economic benefits

Published 12:14 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

NATCHEZ — A new National Park Service report shows that 234,785 visitors to Natchez National Historical Park in 2018 spent $13,865,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 207 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $17,575,000.

“Natchez National Historical Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” Superintendent Kathleen Bond said. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We  also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

Natchez National Historical Park is made up of three historic sites — the Melrose estate, the William Johnson House, and Fort Rosalie. The park’s primary visitor center is in the partnership Natchez Visitor Center, which also serves as the southern terminus visitor center for the Natchez Trace Parkway. Plans are moving forward for the park to assume ownership in 2020 of the Natchez Visitor Center as well as lands at a fourth historic site — the Forks of the Road Slave Market.

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The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018.

Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.