HARPERS FERRY — A recent study shows that visitors spent $10 million at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and nearby businesses in 2010.
The study, which was completed by Daniel Stynes, a professor at Michigan State University, reported that Harpers Ferry Park had nearly 268,822 visitors in 2010 and spending there supported at least 141 jobs, with most of the spending being on lodging.
Quality Hotel Conference Center in Harpers Ferry general manager Nelson Parkinson said the hotel benefits from the bus tour companies that frequent the park as well as other visitors.
“The park is an asset to our business and vice versa,” Parkinson said.
Park Superintendent Rebecca Harriett said the 3,900-acre park brings in many visitors who purchase food, fuel and stay in local hotels.
“The economic impact reaches to Bolivar and beyond,” Harriett said.
Tom Riford, the president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County (Md.) Convention and Visitors Bureau said 2010’s numbers are higher than 2009’s, despite the sluggish economy.
“This shows that even with the challenges of a slow economy, tourism’s positive economic impact from our national parks has increased,” Riford said.
Even farther, said Stynes, who noted spending reaches out as far as 60 miles from the park.
Nearby Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., drew about a third more visitors than Harpers Ferry, the study notes, with 393.957 visitors spending $19.3 million there and in nearby communities, supporting 277 local jobs.
The study shows the bulk of the financial impact was on lodging, food and beverage services, followed by other retail, entertainment, gas and local transportation, and groceries.
“We do this study every year for the National Park Service. Parks nationwide use the numbers to promote the importance of activities to the local community and businesses,” said Stynes.
The study is paid for by the National Park Service.