National Heritage Areas support tens of thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to local economies.
NHAs are catalysts for economic development in the communities in which they are located. NHAs are affiliated with the National Park Service and are managed by independent Federal Commissions, nonprofit groups, or state or municipal authorities. They implement projects through public/private partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, and collaborate with state and local governments to ensure that the regional goals of cultural, historical and natural resource protection are met. In the process, NHAs strive to improve the quality of life in their regions by fostering the development of sustainable economies.
An independent 2012 study by Tripp Umbach found that NHAs’ overall annual economic impact in the U.S. is $12.9 billion, which significantly exceeds the amount of federal funding provided to NHAs by as much as 5:1. The economic impact is comprised of three main areas: tourism, operational expenditures and grantmaking activities; the majority of impact (99%) is generated by tourism spending.
The economic impact was significant in two ways:
- $4.6 billion in direct impact, which includes tourist spending, NHA operational expenditures and grantmaking activities
- $8.3 billion in indirect and induced impacts, which includes employee spending and businesses supporting the tourism industry.
“National Heritage Areas are places where small investments pay huge dividends, providing demonstrable benefits in communities across the country and in partnership with our National Parks.” —Jon Jarvis