- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - The National Park Service says the Great Smoky Mountains National Park received more than 9,000,000 visitors in 2013 who spent more than $734 million in communities near the park.

Officials with the park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border say that spending supported more than 10,000 jobs in the local area.

The 2013 economic benefit figures are slightly lower than the 2012 results. That year visitors spent about $741 million in local communities. The report attributes most of the decline to the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists with the U.S. Geological Survey economists. It is available online at www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

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