NSW research has unveiled the remarkable economic value national parks generate through tourism.
Two University of Queensland researchers, with funding from the state Department of Environment and Science, have determined the Sunshine State's national parks bring in more than $2.64 billion spending annually.
They also contribute $1.98 billion in the state's gross tourism product – almost 10 per cent of the total – across Queensland's almost 500 national parks and conservation parks, brisbanetimes.com.au reports.
Surveying 1000 visitors to parks statewide before the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Sally Driml and Associate Professor Richard Brown found for every dollar spent on national park visitor management, visitor spending produced about $6.30 in value and benefits.
Dr Driml said such research was vitally important for governments to understand how important national parks were to the economy, and to make decision about future conservation projects.
"Because national parks are generally free, we don't really appreciate how much value they generate in terms of tourism," she said.
The figures calculated include not just time spent in the national parks, but visitors' transport, food and beverages, and accommodation in the region associated with each national park.