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State, county officials should promote outdoor recreation

By Staff | Aug 10, 2017

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently released the state-by-state Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, which demonstrates the strong impact that outdoor recreation has on Hawaii’s economy.

The report shows that the outdoor recreation economy in Hawaii directly contributes 68,000 jobs with $2.4 billion in wages and salaries, and it annually generates $7.8 billion in consumer spending and $604 million in state and local tax revenue.

There are other surprising points in the report, including that trail sports sustain more jobs in Hawaii (13,100) than real estate and rentals (12,300), according to data from the University of Hawaii.

OIA’s report also highlights that 59 percent of Hawaii’s 1.43 million residents participate in outdoor recreation each year.

“Communities across Hawaii recognize that outdoor recreation supports health, contributes to a high quality of life and – perhaps most importantly -attracts and sustains employers and families. Investing in outdoor infrastructure attracts employers and active workforces, ensuring those communities thrive economically and socially,” the state report notes.

To ensure this continued growth and success, the Outdoor Industry Association urges policymakers to adequately fund state/local parks and trails to make them attractive and accessible to families and friends seeking to get outside; raise awareness of the importance of the outdoor recreation economy; plan housing areas so that every citizen can get outside and recreate close to home; and support policies that encourage outdoor innovators to start businesses in Hawaii.

As demonstrated in the report, outdoor recreation in Hawaii is thriving and playing a major part in the state’s overall economy. Elected officials should recognize its importance and support it.