Outside Recreation Contributes 2.7% of Annual Louisiana GDP | Way of life


Over the past year, pandemic closings have inspired Americans to go outside in record numbers to find open, safe places to relax and exercise.

In 2020, 7.1 million more people went outdoors, and total participation in outdoor recreational activities topped 52% for the first time since records began, according to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). One of the most popular activities was fishing, which attracted higher numbers of participants across multiple ages, races, and genders.

The surge in outdoor participation has no doubt given a boost to the outdoor leisure industry, which was booming even before the pandemic broke out. In 2012, the industry contributed around $ 350 billion to the US economy. By 2020, that contribution rose to more than $ 450 billion. And with consumers going outside in record numbers over the past year, the industry’s contribution to the economy is likely to increase.

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis categorizes “outdoor activities” into a wide range of hobbies and exercises, including: boating and fishing; Sports such as golf and tennis; Camper; Festivals, sporting events and concerts; Amusement and water parks; and snow activities like skiing and snowboarding.

Among these activities, boating and fishing add the most value. In 2019, they accounted for nearly $ 25 billion. That number is likely to rise as boat sales rose 13% in 2020. The pandemic likely had the extra resources to buy a boat either to fulfill a lifelong dream or to offer their family a new way to enjoy the great outdoors.

For those on a tight budget, fishing has been an economical option for enjoying the outdoors and spending time with friends and family. The number of first-time anglers rose 42% in 2020, leading Martha Williams, Assistant Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, OIA to say, “We are delighted to have so many new and returning anglers entering our nation’s waters enjoy.”

Sports-based recreation and RVing were the second and third most effective activities, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The nationwide increase in outdoor participation in 2020 was particularly beneficial for states that are economically dependent on outdoor recreational activities. To identify the states most dependent on outdoor recreation, the Outdoorsy researchers analyzed data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and created a composite index based on the outdoor recreation industry’s share of GDP, employment, and compensation in each state based.

Based on these factors, Outdoorsy identified a variety of states – both coastal and mountainous – topping the list. Notably, Hawaii was the only state where outdoor recreation accounted for at least 5% of its GDP, employment, and compensation. In the mountainous region, Montana and Wyoming stood out as the two states that were most economically dependent on outdoor recreational activities.