Most national parks are welcoming fewer visitors this year.
George Frey/ Getty Images
- National parks are attracting fewer visitors, data from the National Park Service showed.
- Attractions enjoyed a pandemic boom but the cost of gas is deterring travelers, the FT reported.
- One couple who live in a luxury RV said their fuel costs had tripled.
National Parks are witnessing a drop in visitors this year as higher costs of fuel are putting off travelers, according to official figures reported by the Financial Times.
Most parks enjoyed a rise in visitors last year as pandemic restrictions eased but travelling overseas remained difficult.
However, 14 out of 19 national parks have recorded fewer visitors in 2022, data from the National Park Service showed.
The number of tourists the parks attract is slightly above 2019 levels, but down by 5% compared with last year.
An analyst at Morning Consult, Lindsey Roeschke, told the FT that people have preferred to travel by car because of the pandemic, but may be put off by soaring prices and therefore less inclined to drive.
The average cost of gas in the US on Sunday was $4.68 a gallon, according to AAA Gas Prices.
Joel and Deb Brettingen, who live full-time in a luxury RV, said the cost of gas had spiked and they now had to be more strategic about where they visited. “It’s sucking everyone in the RV community. We budgeted $300 for gas and ended up paying $900 in May.”
Another couple, Lindsey and Bruce Roberts, says they anticipated that prices were going up eight months ago when they chose to move to Yellowstone National Park and work part-time.
The Roberts have part-time jobs at a nonprofit bookstore at Yellowstone. “We actually anticipated that and it’s why we’re here and not traveling around the country having to pay for fuel,” the couple said.
“We feel like we’re hiding out from everything going on in the world for the summer but will have to deal with extra costs come October.”
The Roberts said they could see on Facebook groups that RV owners have been cutting back. “It’s affecting certain parts of the community so we are glad to be hiding out here in one of our favorite places,” they added.