New Data Shows Outdoor Recreation Industry Is Robust and Growing

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( — October 12, 2018) — According to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor recreation industry made up an impressive 2.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 with over $415 billion injected into the country’s economy. Interestingly, the industry enjoyed a 1.7 percent growth rate in 2016 which surpassed the overall national GDP growth of 1.6 percent for the same year.

The BEA compiled its statistics to show specifically how outdoor activities such as snowboarding, skiing, biking, hiking, fishing and boating impact the nation’s economy. Although, outdoor recreational activities as well as the economic activities that support outdoor recreational pursuits, such as factories which manufacture hiking supplies or eateries catering to hikers, are taken into account in the BEA’s broad national statistics, a more targeted look at the outdoor recreation industry was desired.

The most recently released data by the BEA offers a more detailed and isolated look into the outdoor recreation industry, to help evaluate the economic impact separately from broader studies. The study revealed interesting and somewhat surprising insights.

Notably, boating and fishing consisted of the largest sector within the overall outdoor recreation industry, with nearly $37 billion brought into the economy. Next was outdoor games like golf and tennis which together contributed $34.7 billion. RVing contributed $30 billion approximately while motorcycles and ATVs added another $20 billion plus to the economy in 2016. Coming in third were outdoor events such as sporting events, festivals, concerts and the like which added another $23.1 billion.

Finally, guided and outfitted travel including hiking and guided tours brought in $25.7 billion. Monument Valley, located in the rugged and breathtaking landscape of Arizona and owned and operated by family members of the Native American Navajo tribe, is an example of a thriving business in this sector. It’s guided tours help visitors to explore, learn about, and experience Northern Arizona’s natural landscape from a rare vantage point.

As the business works within and respects the natural environment to maintain its health and beauty, it is an all around win for the economy, the environment, as well as for the locals and tourists who experience the tours leading them through the breathtaking landscape.