- Florida’s national parks facilitated $1.3 billion in economic activity in 2021
- The state accrued close to $900 million in visitor spending across the 11 parks
- Floridian parks sustained nearly 12,000 local jobs, adding $753 million in value to the state economy
- Big Cypress National Park hosted the most visitors and brought in roughly $228 million in tourism spending
Florida’s eleven national parks accumulated roughly $1.3 billion in economic contributions in 2021, as well as nearly $900 million in visitor spending, according to a report publicized by the National Parks Service. Floridian parks saw more than 13 million visitors last year with Big Cypress National Park making up 2.5 million of those visitors alone.
The national parks helped stimulate the economy across the state, supporting 11,900 jobs, $441 million in labor income, and $753 million in added value to the Florida economy, according to Axios. An estimated 13.4 million visitors to Florida’s national parks spent $855 million in the “gateway districts,” which are the areas closest to the parks.
“Nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and community in America, as well as to the local economies of gateway communities that support our national parks,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “As we continue to welcome families to our parks and public lands across the country, the Interior Department is committed to making investments in our lands and waters that will support tens of thousands of jobs, safeguard the environment, and help ensure that national parks and public lands are ready to meet the challenges of climate change and increased visitation.”
Big Cypress brings in about $228 million in revenue from tourists, the most in the state, followed by Everglades National Park at just more than $100 million. Though classified as a ‘National Seashore’ rather than a park, Gulf Islands along Florida’s panhandle generated $267 million in tourist spending.
More than 36 million people visited the Sunshine State during the first quarter of 2022, exceeding pre-COVID metrics and representing a 39 percent increase from the same period in 2021.
Florida has been a destination state for travelers coming out of COVID-19 restrictions, welcoming nearly 120 million domestic tourists in 2021, the highest level of domestic visitation in Florida’s history. The increased tourism brought in local economy boosts, marking all-time high revenues for hotels and property rentals.
The travel insurance company Allianz reported that Orlando remains the top domestic summer travel destination in America, edging out Seattle, Washington, a pair of Hawaiian Island destinations, New York City, L.A., Boston, and others, according to an analysis of 2022 flight itineraries for summer travel months.
Other Florida destinations are also reporting record surges in attendance. The Space Coast, for example, reported its “best ever” month of tourist tax collections in March, and with more tourists likely to hit Space Coast beaches and trying to catch one of Florida’s rapidly growing number of rocket launches this year, those numbers are likely to surge even higher over the summer.
Florida’s hotels as a whole reported their highest total revenues, collectively amassing over $17.3 billion dollars, while Florida’s airports accommodated an 80 percent increase in passengers.