Surge in outdoor recreation fuels push for legislation, federal office

Outdoor entertainment contributed $454 billion to the US economy in 2021, accounting for 1.9% of the country’s economy and fueling a resurgence of the pandemic.

The fifth annual report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that was released on Wednesday shows that outdoor recreation was disrupted due to the epidemic of travel and tourism in 2020. USeconomy – is pushing industry promoters to request federal aid for sports.

“Outdoor recreation is one of the few areas where we’re seeing bipartisan support,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. (Boating was hot in 2021, with boat buyers and manufacturers contributing $50.4 billion to the foreign economy, making it the industry’s largest sector.) bringing people together to improve our economy and our quality of life.”

The federal government began measuring the outdoor economy in 2017, following the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act. Annual reports from the Department of Commerce show outdoor recreation users, manufacturers, service providers, retailers and service industries such as travel and tourism drive a larger economy than agriculture, energy, chemicals or electronics.

As of 2017, 18 countries have created foreign entertainment offices. Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020, the largest conservation fund that has directed billions for recreation and infrastructure. The recent American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act made many improvements in the sports industry.

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Outdoor recreation advocates are urging lawmakers to pass the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which would allow the state to allow outdoor recreation in all land management agencies.

President Joe Biden this year also met with the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, or FICOR, which was first established by President Barack Obama in 2011, bringing together leaders from the departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense to work together on expanding outdoor recreation opportunities.

The expansion of legislation, support from the president and economic statistics that show recreation as one of the nation’s strongest industries are encouraging outdoor recreation advocates to take the lead “in more than one piece of legislation,” said Jess Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. , which represents many foreign trade groups that operate in more than 110,000 foreign businesses.

“FICOR is amazing,” said Turner, who hopes to see a federal office outside of Washington, DC

“Having an interesting national office and someone in the office and in the White House who is focused on the financial sector and making sure that all of these organizations are at the table and overseeing the state and the government, that would be our long-term goal,” said Turner.

The return from 2020 is the industry’s best argument for increasing federal aid. Many are quietly pushing the Biden administration to create a national office and recreation administrator, perhaps in the Commerce Department. This week’s strong support for Democrats provides even more impetus for the push.

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“There’s a lot of wind behind us,” said Conor Hall, director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation.

People fish in the Colorado River near Kremmling, Colorado, on June 27, 2021. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

It wasn’t that long ago that outdoor recreation was not recognized as an economic engine. But now the entertainment industry has more economic and political power.

The foreign investment of $861.5 billion in economic activity is estimated to be $659.7 billion in 2020. The 2020 figures showed that foreign entertainment is decreasing by 19% from 2019, compared to a decrease of 3.4% in the national economy.

All 50 states decreased in foreign dollars in 2020 compared to 2019. Colorado decreased by 19.5% in 2020.

The 19% annual growth in foreign exchange in 2021 comes as the global economy grew by 6% last year.

The biggest growth in 2021 came from the return of travel and travel around outdoor recreation. In 2020, outdoor leisure travel fell to $149.6 million in direct spending, spending and spending on outdoor activities, compared to $291 million in 2019. Travel and tourism spending rose to $257.9 million in 2021, buoying the overall leisure economy. to high profile.

The increase in travelers includes more campers, said Toby O’Rourke, CEO of Kampgrounds of America, the nation’s largest group of independent campgrounds.

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KOA counted 2021 as its best year in its 60-year history, with revenue up 33% over 2019, O’Rourke said. More Americans than ever consider themselves campers, he said. And like many outdoor sectors, participation has grown during the pandemic when outdoor activities have been on hiatus due to urban lockdowns.

“This pandemic has taken a toll on our business,” O’Rourke said.

Colorado’s foreign economy employed 125,244 workers in 2021 who earned $6.1 billion, accounting for 2.5% of the state’s total payroll. This compares to 120,063 jobs in 2020 workers earning $5.7 billion.

Add those payments to Colorado’s outdoor entertainment industry and the outdoor economy contributed $11.6 billion to the state in 2021, making up 2.7% of the state’s GDP. Colorado’s economic output is up 20% from 2020.

Hall sees Colorado playing a leading role in the push for a fun queen.

“Colorado is looking to grow more than 20% in one year. We are outpacing all other companies in the country. This is a good time to see if we can create a federal office,” said Hall, noting that the effort is supported by the Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and US Sen. John Hickenlooper. “We have the opportunity to buy. This is a big step and it is a shake of demand. But I think we have the power to make it happen.”


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