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The Gulf Islands National Seashore created a total economic benefit of $251.8 million in 2016, according to a new report from the National Park Service.

Some 4.8 million people visited the seashore last year, spending $206 million in the community and supporting approximately 3,000 jobs across the area.

“Gulf Islands National Seashore welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. “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 more than $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.”

The Park Service’s annual peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis showed that the 331 million visitors to national park units in 2016 contributed $18.4 billion in direct spending in nearby communities, supporting over 318,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

“People and business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value,” Brown added. “Gulf Islands National Seashore is clean, green fuel for the engine that drives our local economy.”

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