WASHINGTON, D.C. – Even as the economy continues to prove to be slow going overall, a new study released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and promoted by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable indicated that outdoor recreation continued to have a powerful economic impact during 2022.
So powerful, in fact, that outdoor recreation generated $1.1 trillion in economic output, making up 2.2% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and supporting 5 million jobs – an estimated 3.2% of all employees nationwide.
Of that total, RVing contributed the largest chunk with $48.2 billion, boating $37.2 billion, hunting, shooting and trapping $18.4 billion, and motorcycling and ATVing $16.2 billion. Other categories included in the total included equestrian, bicycling, fishing, skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling and other snow activities, climbing, canoeing and kayaking.
On a state-by-state basis, Hawaii and Alaska had the biggest percent change of their economies taken up by outdoor recreation since the previous report last year at 47.3% and 34.9%, respecitvely.
Arizona and Texas also came in at above 40% and another 38 states saying at least 20% more of their economies were made up of outdoor recreation opportunities than in 2021.
At the state level, value added for outdoor recreation as a share of state GDP ranged from 5.6% in Hawaii to 1.4% in Connecticut. The share was 0.9% in the District of Columbia.
“If there’s one thing to take away from today’s BEA presentation it’s this: the state of the outdoor recreation economy is strong, and sustained investment in outdoor recreation and our shared public lands and waters pays dividends for our local and national economies and quality of life,” said Jessica Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Our industry continues to provide benefits to communities across the country — big, small, urban, and rural alike. To ensure that this success is sustainable and that our public lands and waters will continue to be accessible to all Americans for generations to come, we will continue to work together with leaders on the passage of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act by the end of this year. We are thrilled to once again see the data reflect what we hear every day, that outdoor recreation is not a nice to have — but a necessity for healthy people, places, and economies.”
“New RVers are younger and more diverse than ever before, and they are choosing RVing as a way to fulfill their desire to get outdoors, take part in all kinds of outdoor recreation, and live an active outdoor lifestyle. RVs provide a basecamp for every form of recreation included in these new economic numbers, from boating and fishing to hiking, biking, climbing, and camping” said Craig Kirby, RV Industry Association president and CEO. “What these new numbers show is that outdoor recreation is not just good for people’s physical and mental health, it is also a significant economic driver across the entire country.”
“This BEA report demonstrates the wide-ranging economic impact outdoor recreation has on state economies as well as the entire nation,” said RV Dealers Association President Phil Ingrassia. “Outdoor recreation businesses including RV dealerships, RV parks and campgrounds, and other recreational activities can spur economic growth in both metropolitan and rural areas of the country.”
“Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors and it’s often the catalyst for other outdoor recreation activities. As part of the larger outdoor recreation industry, outdoor hospitality makes an incredible economic impact on local communities and the U.S. as a whole,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of OHI, formerly ARVC. “Our camping consumer research shows a family of four spends an average of $275 per day in local communities on campsites, fuel, food and entertainment, and this latest BEA data reaffirms the economic value of outdoor hospitality as part of the larger outdoor recreation industry’s impact.”