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Zoos and aquariums
A roaring trade

Zoos and aquariums generate important revenue for their local community and the entire country. Stephen S Fuller explains how

By Stephen Fuller | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 4

The annual operating and capital outlays of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) provides important economic benefits within local and state economies. It also generates important economic benefits nationally and internationally. These economic benefits include growing gross domestic product (GDP), creating wages for workers at the institutions and supporting jobs throughout the economy, as the initial spending by zoos and aquariums is re-spent and re-cycled.

Speculate to accumulate
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in the US spent $4.6bn (E3.4bn, £2.8bn) in 2012 alone. This spending was divided between annual operations expenditures totalling $3.5bn (E2.6bn, £2.2bn), plus an additional $1.1bn (E809.2m, £683m) in capital improvements – an amount likely to vary by year. Not included in the analysis were the significant spending outlays of concessionaires that provide retail and food services on grounds at these facilities. Including the operating expenses of these businesses would certainly grow the total economic impact of the zoos and aquariums even more.

Another source of important revenue in the community surrounding AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is the off-site spending of zoo and aquarium guests that occurs in combination with their visits. While not all zoo and aquarium guests combine their visit with other commercial activities, research has shown that some do and that this spending can be significant, particularly when it stems from out-of-town tourists.

The number of people that visited AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in 2012 was 181.9 million globally – 169.4 million of those people visited an accredited zoo or aquarium in the US. The visit-related, off-site spending of those zoo and aquarium visitors in the US has been estimated at $2.4bn (E1.8bn, £1.5bn).

Economic benefits
Therefore, the economic benefit of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and their visitors in 2012 can be highlighted as:

Direct expenditures by US AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums of $4.6bn (E3.4bn, £2.8bn) contributed a total of $13.2bn (E9.7bn, £8.2bn) to the United States’ GDP. This is based on the use of a widely accepted aggregate output multiplier of 2.88;

Direct spending generated $4.4bn (E3.2bn, £2.7bn) in wages and salaries for US workers and supported 132,015 jobs in the United States;

Before-and-after visitor spending, estimated to total $2.4bn (E1.8bn, £1.5bn), added an additional $6.6bn (E4.85bn, £4bn) to GDP, generated $2bn (E1.5bn, £1.2bn) in wages and supported 61,971 jobs nationwide.

Total contribution of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to the US economy in 2012 was $19.8bn (E14.6bn, £12.3bn), generating personal earnings totaling $6.4bn (E4.7bn, £3.9bn) and supporting 193,986 jobs. Eight of AZA’s 10 international member organisations reported direct annual operating and capital expenditures totaling $490.7m (E360.8m, £304.6m) in 2012. This spending added an estimated $1.1bn (E809.2m, £683m) in aggregate benefits to the economies of these international members’ countries, generated $352m (E259m, £218.5m) in new wages to workers residing locally (in addition to direct payroll outlays) and supported 10,772 jobs across their respective national economies.

These analyses have confirmed that the economic impacts of annual spending by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and the visit-related, off-site spending by their guests have benefits that far exceed the value of the initial investments.

These benefits constitute an important source of new income and jobs that contribute broadly across the economy locally and at the state, national and international levels.



The benefits of zoos and aquariums include new income and jobs that contribute broadly to the economy Credit: PHOTO: Mark Van Bergh, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
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Zoos and aquariums
A roaring trade

Zoos and aquariums generate important revenue for their local community and the entire country. Stephen S Fuller explains how

By Stephen Fuller | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 4

The annual operating and capital outlays of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) provides important economic benefits within local and state economies. It also generates important economic benefits nationally and internationally. These economic benefits include growing gross domestic product (GDP), creating wages for workers at the institutions and supporting jobs throughout the economy, as the initial spending by zoos and aquariums is re-spent and re-cycled.

Speculate to accumulate
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in the US spent $4.6bn (E3.4bn, £2.8bn) in 2012 alone. This spending was divided between annual operations expenditures totalling $3.5bn (E2.6bn, £2.2bn), plus an additional $1.1bn (E809.2m, £683m) in capital improvements – an amount likely to vary by year. Not included in the analysis were the significant spending outlays of concessionaires that provide retail and food services on grounds at these facilities. Including the operating expenses of these businesses would certainly grow the total economic impact of the zoos and aquariums even more.

Another source of important revenue in the community surrounding AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is the off-site spending of zoo and aquarium guests that occurs in combination with their visits. While not all zoo and aquarium guests combine their visit with other commercial activities, research has shown that some do and that this spending can be significant, particularly when it stems from out-of-town tourists.

The number of people that visited AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in 2012 was 181.9 million globally – 169.4 million of those people visited an accredited zoo or aquarium in the US. The visit-related, off-site spending of those zoo and aquarium visitors in the US has been estimated at $2.4bn (E1.8bn, £1.5bn).

Economic benefits
Therefore, the economic benefit of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and their visitors in 2012 can be highlighted as:

Direct expenditures by US AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums of $4.6bn (E3.4bn, £2.8bn) contributed a total of $13.2bn (E9.7bn, £8.2bn) to the United States’ GDP. This is based on the use of a widely accepted aggregate output multiplier of 2.88;

Direct spending generated $4.4bn (E3.2bn, £2.7bn) in wages and salaries for US workers and supported 132,015 jobs in the United States;

Before-and-after visitor spending, estimated to total $2.4bn (E1.8bn, £1.5bn), added an additional $6.6bn (E4.85bn, £4bn) to GDP, generated $2bn (E1.5bn, £1.2bn) in wages and supported 61,971 jobs nationwide.

Total contribution of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to the US economy in 2012 was $19.8bn (E14.6bn, £12.3bn), generating personal earnings totaling $6.4bn (E4.7bn, £3.9bn) and supporting 193,986 jobs. Eight of AZA’s 10 international member organisations reported direct annual operating and capital expenditures totaling $490.7m (E360.8m, £304.6m) in 2012. This spending added an estimated $1.1bn (E809.2m, £683m) in aggregate benefits to the economies of these international members’ countries, generated $352m (E259m, £218.5m) in new wages to workers residing locally (in addition to direct payroll outlays) and supported 10,772 jobs across their respective national economies.

These analyses have confirmed that the economic impacts of annual spending by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and the visit-related, off-site spending by their guests have benefits that far exceed the value of the initial investments.

These benefits constitute an important source of new income and jobs that contribute broadly across the economy locally and at the state, national and international levels.



The benefits of zoos and aquariums include new income and jobs that contribute broadly to the economy Credit: PHOTO: Mark Van Bergh, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
 


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