News Column

Report: Gettysburg battlefield visitors spent $73 million locally in 2013

August 1, 2014

By Jennifer Wentz, The Evening Sun, Hanover, Pa.



Aug. 01--Gettysburg National Military Park saw a 7 percent increase in visitation between 2012 and 2013, despite the government shutdown, according to a National Park Service report.

About 1.2 million visitors flocked to the battlefields in 2013, spending more than $73 million and supporting more than 900 local jobs, mostly in the lodging, food and beverage industries, the report states. These numbers mark a $7 million increase in visitor spending over 2012, as well as about 100 more created jobs.

Eisenhower National Historic Site also experienced about a 10 percent increase in visitation between 2012 and 2013, as well as a 12 percent increase in visitor spending.

These increases set the Gettysburg parks apart from other National Parks in 2013, most of which saw an overall decrease in visitation because of the 16-day government shutdown in October, said park spokesperson Katie Lawhon.

"That might have happened at Gettysburg if not for the big 150th," Lawhon said.

The park drew in about 111,000 visitors during the three-day sesquicentennial celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg, according to the Park Service, as well as unprecedented crowds throughout the rest of the year.

Other parks, by contrast, experienced about a 3 percent decrease in visitation between 2012 and 2013, likely because of the government shutdown and closures caused by Hurrican Sandy, the report states.

The Gettysburg park, however, was not immune to the effects of the shutdown, according to a separate National Park Service survey. The park brought in about $4.2 million in visitor spending in October 2013, about $2.5 million less than that month's average in 2010 through 2012.

Still, the park more than made up for that loss throughout the rest of the year, Lawhon said.

In 2014, visitation and visitor spending will undoubtedly be lower than the sesquicentennial year, but they might surpass 2012, she said. The year started off slow because of the excessive snow and cold temperatures, but the battle anniversary drew in about 2,000 more visitors this year than it did in 2012.

"We've had mixed results, so I guess we'll see what the rest of the year has in store," Lawhon said.

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(c)2014 The Evening Sun (Hanover, Pa.)

Visit The Evening Sun (Hanover, Pa.) at www.eveningsun.com

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Source: Evening Sun, The (Hanover, PA)


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