Weir Farm tourism helps local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors to national parks in Connecticut, including Weir Farm, spent $1.2 million in 2012.

“Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut attracts visitors from throughout the region and across the country,” said NPS Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell.

“Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip or a family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience and end up spending a little money along the way.”

Other Connecticut national sites and trails listed on the park service website include:

• Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley;

• Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail;

• The Appalachian Trail.

The park service report also revealed that visitor spending supported 14 Connecticut jobs in 2012.

“This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service,” said Mr. Caldwell.

Mr. Caldwell said national park tourism is also a big factor in our state’s economy, which he said is “a result we can all support.”

According to visitor spending analysis conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists:

• 39% of visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores;

• 27% supports hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts;

• 20% supports other amusement and recreation.

The visitor spending analysis also showed that 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park generate $14.7 billion in direct spending.

Furthermore, this spending supports 243,000 jobs nationally — with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities —and had a cumulative benefit to the nation’s economy of $26.75 billion.