Outdoor recreation is a 862 billion dollar industry

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released new data that shows that the outdoor recreation industry is worth a record-breaking $862 billion to the US economy. As well as this huge revenue generation, which means that the outdoor recreation industry contributes more to the US economy than oil and gas extraction, mining, and farming, it also supports an estimated 4.5 million jobs.

“The BEA data underscores how important it is to invest in public lands, waters and recreation infrastructure from coast to coast and for recreation activities of all types,” said Jessica Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “From the creation of jobs and increased profit for small businesses in local economies, to larger boons to our national economy, this sector is a consistent driver, even in times of economic uncertainty. The strength of the outdoor recreation economy reflects what many in the industry have long known to be true: there are infinite benefits that come from more people spending time outdoors, and they’ll only grow with continued investment.”

The record-breaking value of the outdoor recreation industry also means that it accounts for 1.9 per cent of the United States’ overall gross domestic product. RVing and camping are a huge part of the outdoor recreation space, and the key stakeholders in those markets have welcomed this news warmly.

Craig Kirby, president and CEO of the RV Industry Association, added: “The RV industry has seen a record number of younger and more diverse customers flock to RVs as a way to fulfil 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, and climbing.

“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.”

Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc, said: “This data solidifies what we have seen over our sixty-year history – that there is intrinsic value in the outdoors.

“Over 20 million new households started camping since 2020 with six in ten planning to continue. We are increasingly seeing camping and the outdoors vacation becoming a preferred form of travel. The economic impact of camping and the greater outdoor industry underscores how critical natural spaces are to our communities.? And, even more importantly, the outdoors remain vital for overall health and well-being and in fostering connection to others.”