VNMP visitors give local economy $30 million boost

Published 11:29 am Monday, July 28, 2014

More than half a million visitors to Vicksburg National Military Park pumped more than $30 million into the local economy during the sesquicentennial commemoration last year, according a recent National Park Service study.

During 2013, 573,838 Vicksburg National Military Park visitors spent $31.6 million locally, which according to the 2013 National Park Visitor Spending Effects study supported 461 jobs.

“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,” VNMP Superintendent Michael Madell said in e-mail.

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The vast majority of visitors — 482,024 — were out of town visitors, according to the study. They spent $30.2 million, supporting 441 jobs, according to the study.

“Vicksburg National Military Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” Madell said “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.

The economic impact shows that it is imperative that the city maintains its relationship with the park, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

“As mayor of the City of Vicksburg, I am in total agreement that the Vicksburg National Military Park is the most vital economic tool for Vicksburg, the state of Mississippi, and our nation as it relates to tourism, economic development, and job creation,” Flaggs said.

Warren County Board of Supervisors President Bill Lauderdale agreed that the park has been a major contributor to the local economy.

“The Vicksburg National Military Park has not only been a way to bring additional tourism to our community, but has also helped us to bring new businesses and industries to Warren County which contribute to our tax base,” Lauderdale said. “The historical and recreational opportunities the VNMP provides our guests and residents are exceptional.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging —30.3 percent — followed by food and beverages — 27.3 percent.

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars —50,000 jobs — and lodging — 38,000 jobs.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To view the full report, visit