The MIC reported that motorcycling, ATV riding and side-by-side driving are among the country’s five largest traditional or conventional outdoor recreation activities, when ranked by economic output, according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
This was the first time that the BEA provided preliminary data on economic contribution in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, demonstrating how important outdoor recreation is to both local business as well as the nation’s gross domestic product.
And, it’s a growth sector.
According to the BEA release, its Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account “shows that inflation-adjusted (real) GDP for the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.9% in 2017, faster than the 2.4% growth of the overall U.S. economy. Real gross output, compensation, and employment all grew faster in outdoor recreation than for the economy as a whole.”
The bureau defines “conventional” outdoor recreation as activities done for pleasure, such as camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing, and involving some physical effort.
The 5 Largest Conventional Outdoor Recreation Activities by Economic Output
“We have long known that motorcycling, ATV riding and side-by-side driving are major contributors to the economy, to our country’s GDP, in so many ways,” said Tim Buche, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. “We boost local economies, too, and not just through powersports dealers and retailers. Our enthusiasts book hotel stays, pay park fees, buy food, supplies and other gear they need for all sorts of great outdoor adventures. All of that makes them, and our industry, a powerful economic engine that merits the attention of policymakers and those who manage public lands.”
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is a coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations and the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association are members. Looking at the BEA’s latest report, the ORR noted some additional highlights:
- Outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2% of U.S. GDP, creating $778 billion in gross output supporting 5.2 million jobs.
- Outdoor recreation is responsible for a larger share of GDP than many major industries, including chemical products manufacturing, farming and ranching, mining, and utilities.
“[The] release of state data is a significant step forward for the entire outdoor recreation industry,” said Jessica Wahl, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “This second full year of national data – together with prototype state-level numbers – proves that our industry is a driving economic force across the country. ORR will continue to work with Congress, federal agencies, state governments and others to ensure that everyone has access to our public lands and waters and that our nation’s outdoor infrastructure can sustain and grow healthy communities and healthy economies.”