Tourism to Valley Forge creates $36 million in economic benefits in 2018

The restaurant, retail, and hotel sectors accounted for the top three spending categories by visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park.

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.8 million visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park spent $24 million in communities near the park during 2018. This spending supported 382 jobs and provided a $36 million cumulative benefit to the Greater Philadelphia economy.

“Valley Forge National Historical Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Steve Sims. “We are delighted to share the story of the Valley Forge Winter Encampment of 1777-1778 and to protect the 3,500 acres of this inspiring landscape for the enjoyment of our visitors. Valley Forge serves as a gateway for visitors traveling to the numerous cultural and recreational destinations surrounding Greater Philadelphia and we’re proud that the economic impact provided by the park helps to sustain our local communities. 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 the Philadelphia area economy as well.”
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The restaurant ($10.3 million), retail ($3.9 million), and hotel ($3.0 million) sectors accounted for the top three spending categories by visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park.  In Pennsylvania, more than 9.7 million visitors spent $467 million in local communities, supporting 7,380 jobs and providing a cumulative impact of more than $693 million in 2018.
 More detailed information on the economic benefits specific to Valley Forge is available at:

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.
Lodging expenses  account for the largest share of  visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables  users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

To learn more about national parks in Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

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