Outdoor recreation powerful economic driver

by Jason Bain | September 25, 2019

Canadians aren’t the only North Americans spending a lot on outdoor recreation, according to new statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Outdoor recreation makes up 2.2% ($427.2 billion) of the US gross domestic product (GPD), generating $778 billion in gross output and supporting 5.2 million jobs in 2017, the agency of the United States Department of Commerce stated Sept. 20.

Canadian info just released

The data was released less than a week after a Conference Board of Canada study commissioned by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association — with support from 30 other organizations and companies — revealed Canadians spend $18.9 billion on fishing, hunting, trapping, and sport shooting in 2018.

Some $13.2 billion contributed to Canada’s GDP represented some 0.6% of its economy, supporting nearly 107,000 jobs, according to The Economic Footprint of Angling, Hunting, Trapping and Sport Shooting in Canada.

In Ontario, the activities contributed $4.7 billion to the province’s GDP, or 0.6%, and supported 36,900 jobs. Like Quebec, fishing and hunting expenditures account for nearly 90% of total spending on the four activities.

Recreation growing fast

The five largest conventional outdoor recreation activities in terms of economic output in the United States were boating/fishing ($20.9 billion), RVing ($16.9 billion), motorcycling/ATVing ($9.1 billion), hunting/shooting/trapping ($8.8 billion), and equestrian sports ($5.6 billion), the BEA reported.

In fact, outdoor recreation’s share of the American GDP is larger than many traditionally-recognized industries, including mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing, the agency stated. Outdoor recreation is growing faster than the US economy as a whole, officials stated.

Boating, fishing tops

Boating/fishing was the largest conventional activity in 29 states and the District of Columbia, led by Florida ($2.7 billion) and California ($1.8 billion).

Guided tours/outfitted travel was one of the fastest growing activities, growing at 11.4%.

The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of each states’ total GDP are Hawaii, Montana, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of total US GDP are California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.

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