Visitors to national parks in D.C. and the greater Washington area pumped over $928 million into local communities in 2012, according to a National Park Service report.
Parks in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia saw 49.5 million visitors in 2012, supporting 12,404 jobs, an NPS spending analysis says. "Most visitor spending nationwide supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent)," according to a release.
“National parks in the greater Washington area preserve the American story and serve as a stage were history is made and remembered,” NPS Regional Director Stephen E. Whitesell said in a release. “Not only do national parks in this area attract visitors from across the country and around the world, but they are also integral to Washingtonians’ daily lives. We are proud to be entrusted with America’s most treasured places, and it’s important to understand the extent to which the visitors we welcome contribute to the local, state and national economy.”
In D.C. proper, the National Mall and Memorial Parks were visited by 29,003,977 people in 2012, putting $504,760,300 into the economy and supporting 6,670 private sector jobs. National parks in D.C. saw 34,286,073 visitors in total that year, bringing the total economic benefit to $596.7 million.
Want to break that down even more? In 2012, the Lincoln Memorial was visited by 6,191,361 people, the MLK Memorial by 3,738,336 people and the Jefferson Memorial by 2,496,726.
Here's an important note about the study.
The many monuments and parks in the Washington, D.C. area each count visitors separately. To avoid double counting of spending across many national capital parks, we must know how many times a visitor has been counted at park units during a trip to the Washington, D.C. area. For parks in the Washington, D.C. area, we assume an average of 1.7 park visits are counted for day trips by local visitors, 3.4 visits for day trips by non-local visitors, and 5.1 park visits on overnight trips (Stynes, 2011). Better data on visitor trip patterns in the Washington D.C. area would improve the accuracy of spending and economic effects for these parks.