Outdoor recreation is booming. How much money did it bring to Idaho in 2022? - East Idaho News
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Outdoor recreation is booming. How much money did it bring to Idaho in 2022?

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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — New data shows the U.S.’s outdoor recreation industry has a larger economic impact than ever before, and Idaho is among the states seeing significant growth.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released figures for 2022 that show the industry contributed $1.1 trillion in economic output nationwide, with outdoor businesses earning $563.7 billion. It’s the first time outdoor recreation has surpassed $1 trillion in economic output.

The numbers indicate continued growth in an industry that includes everything from camping and recreational vehicles, to gardening, to amusement parks.

In Idaho, outdoor goods and activities earned $3.4 billion. While that worked out to fewer dollars than in more populous states, it was 3.1% of Idaho’s overall gross domestic product. Only 10 other states’ outdoor industries contributed a larger percentage to their GDP.

RVing remained the most lucrative outdoor industry in the U.S. and in Idaho, where it contributed nearly half a billion dollars. Nationwide, boating and fishing contributed the second-highest revenue in the outdoor sector. In Idaho, boating and fishing contributed nearly $200 million, behind hunting, shooting and trapping, which contributed $217 million.

Since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began measuring outdoor recreation’s economic impacts in 2017, nearly all of Idaho’s industries and activities have grown. Last year was a record revenue year for activities like camping and hiking, skiing and snowboarding, festivals and outdoor concerts and even local trips — which the bureau defines as travel fewer than 50 miles from home.

Idaho also added roughly 3,000 outdoor recreation industry jobs over the previous year, totaling around 35,000 industry employees.

It’s a promising recovery from 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic slashed revenues at the same time that it pushed record numbers of people outside. There are still a lot of people heading outdoors for entertainment. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, nearly one million people participated in outdoor activities in Idaho last year.

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