Outdoor recreation industry generated $646 billion in sales, services during 2011

Publish Date: 
Jun 14, 2012

The outdoor recreation industry generated $646 billion in national sales in services in 2011, according to a study conducted by the Western Governors' Association and funded by various industry groups.

The Motorcycle Industry Council, along with the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, collaborated with the WGA to fund the report on the combined economic impact of motorized and non-motorized outdoor recreation. The joint study, released at the WGA Annual Meeting in Cle Elum, Wash., documents the continued growth and significance of outdoor recreation to the economies of the Western states and the nation overall.

Representing the MIC, ROHVA and SVIA, Polaris Industries president and COO Bennett Morgan joined WGA chair Gov. Christine Gregoire (Washington) and vice-chair Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah), as well as the CEOs of REI and Brunswick, in a panel discussion on the breadth and importance of the recreation industry to the West.

"The big news is that the direct economic impact of outdoor recreation was worth $646 billion in 2011, generating more dollars than other vast industries like pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles and related parts,” said Morgan. "Now that the initial results of the study are out, it's time to put down the pencils and calculators and take advantage of the great outdoors and have some fun."

“The MIC has long known the enormous economic benefit that motorized recreation contributes to the U.S. economy,” said ROHVA executive vice president Paul Vitrano. “But to have these numbers available to validate this will be of extreme value. We are particularly pleased that we could partner with the non-motorized community and WGA to produce comprehensive data on the contribution that the entire recreation community provides to the U.S. and state economies, and we look forward to continuing this cooperative effort.”

The full report, “A Snapshot of The Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation,” can be found on the WGA website at www.westgov.org/reports.