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Outdoor recreation in Mississippi accounts for substantial economic impact to the state and income diversification for private landowners on their properties. How much money is brought into Mississippi with outdoor recreation related to hunting, fishing, bird watching, agritourism, bed & breakfasts accommodations in a given year? Before presenting these estimates, economic impact is derived from monies spent for any good or service purchased by considering the direct, indirect, and induced effects of dollars spent for the purchase.
For example, when you purchase an automobile at your local dealership, monies for the purchase price go to support the economic status of the dealership directly. With additional sales, more automobiles are ordered by the dealership. New vehicle orders stimulate construction of vehicles at the Mississippi factory with the use of additional raw materials and labor supplied by other suppliers and companies. These latter activities following your purchase result in indirect and induced economic impacts.
In other words, the spending for your new vehicle stimulates a series of expenditures with some effects being felt immediately and locally while others impact economic activity in Mississippi and beyond later in time. As these dollars move through the economy affecting different sectors, the overall effect of your car purchase is multiplied upward yielding an overall economic impact. So back to our original question: how much economic impact does outdoor recreation mean to Mississippi?
In a national survey conducted in 2006 by the US Department of the Interior to examine spending for hunting, angling, and wildlife watching in the US, expenditures by 304,000 residents and visitors to Mississippi for hunting totaled $520 million (stated in 2008 dollars). These expenditures accounted for $1.2 billion in economic impact to the state. Likewise, expenditures for fishing by 508,000 resident and nonresident anglers totaled $245 million, producing $690 million in economic impact. In terms of enjoying the opportunity to view wildlife in their natural settings in Mississippi, 246,000 individuals viewed wildlife during 2006 spending $176,000 million, accounting for $791 million in economic impact to the state. Overall economic impact to Mississippi from outdoor recreation totaled $2.7 million annually (2008 dollars). In addition to these estimates, outdoor outfitters, including hunting outfitters, agritourism farms, and Gulf Coast charter boat operators accounted for over $50 million in economic impact to Mississippi.
A large portion of these monies spent and the resulting positive impacts to local communities are associated with outdoor recreation occurring on private lands in the state, thereby enhancing family incomes of Mississippi landowners. As a final note, a 2008 MSU study found that outdoor recreation increased the financial value of private lands used for recreation by 52%.
Outdoor recreation benefits the economic wellbeing and sustainability of natural resources of Mississippi and of landowners in the state.
2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (PDF)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (Survey) has been conducted since 1955 and is one of the oldest and most comprehensive continuing recreation surveys. The Survey collects information on the number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers; how often they participate; and how much they spend on their activities in the United States. The 2006 Survey found that 87.5 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older participated in wildlife-related recreation. During that year, 30.0 million people if shed, 12.5 million hunted, and 71.1 million participated in at least one type of wildlife-watching activity such as observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife in the United States.
Assessing the Economic Development Potential of Nature Tourism (PDF)
Great Plains Research
Nature tourism is increasingly being considered as an economic development opportunity for rural areas of the Great Plains. As rural communities seek to develop nature tourism, questions regarding the attributes and interests of the nature tourist arise. This study sought to address these questions through a survey of participants at a birding festival held in central North Dakota in June 2004. The festival participants were predominantly from outside the local area, and most of these visitors were from out of state. The festival participants were middle-aged and highly educated, and had relatively high income. The visitors spent an average of three nights in the local area, with an average local expenditure of $160 per person. The visitors enjoyed the festival and the area; almost all would recommend the birding festival to a friend. The potential for growth of nature tourism in the area appears substantial.
Using Lodging Tax as an Economic Indicator of Nature-Based Tourism (PDF)
University of Nebraska at Kearney
This research used lodging tax as an economic indicator to determine the economic impact of nature-based tourism in Nebraska.