In 2006, there were an estimated 4,313,000 wildlife-watchers in Ohio. That number is only expected to grow as people stay closer to home during their vacations and time off of work. This group spent more $1.2 billion in pursuit of their interest in 2006 alone. Money is spent on lodging, gasoline, travel expenses, and food. Every dollar is a boost to the local economies in the state.
Also in 2006, about 120,000 out-of-state-birders visited Ohio, with Lake Erie the most popular destination. Nationwide, birder expenditures total nearly $36 billion, and related industry benefits magnify this to about $82 billion in overall economic impact.
As bird and other wildlife-watcher numbers continue to grow, it is important that local businesses realize the impact that these visitors have on their bottom line.
As a birder, you can help to grow awareness of the importance of birding to Ohio’s economy. Print the Lake Erie Birding Trail Calling Cards (front and back) and leave them at restaurants, hotels, and even gas stations that you visit during your time on the trail. Make sure that these places know you spent time and money at their establishment because you are a birder.
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.