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Positive Economic Impact Of Snowmobiling Outperforms Economy

Published online: Nov 12, 2012 News
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International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association

Haslett, MI - Recreational spending and outdoor activities are much bigger economic drivers than most  people realize. A recent study found that consumer spending on outdoor recreational activities generated $646 billion in national sales and services last year in the U.S. alone.

Economic impact analysts report that snowmobilers in North America have generated more than $30 billion on economic activity directly related to snowmobiling each year. These expenditures include:

  • Equipment
  • Clothing
  • Accessories
  • Snowmobiling vacations
  • Etc.

The economic benefits of snowmobiling in North America generate jobs for approximately 100,000 individuals, mostly in rural parts of North America. The snowmobiling community generates significant income tax revenues and state tax revenues as well as reducing unemployment and welfare payments. Millions of dollars in tax revenues are derived from snowmobile related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, manufacturers, service stations, insurance agencies, hardware stores, banks, credit unions and more.

In addition to the positive economic impact, snowmobilers also pay millions of dollars in gas tax which helps build our trails, trail heads and roadways to snowmobiling destinations.

An example of an economic impact study showing the growth of snowmobiling activity and the importance of snowmobiling can be seen in reviewing the study recently done for the New York State Snowmobile Association by the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research in Potsdam, NY.  The organization showed a 1998 economic report of $476 million dollars. In the 2012 report, snowmobilers were surveyed and the economic impact of snowmobiling was calculated to be $875 million dollars annually. Yes, this is an 84 percent increase in 14 years. This is a substantive increase, above and beyond the growth of the economy, the rate of inflation. The positive impact snowmobiling has on the economy compared to other activities is remarkable.

The survey also profiled snowmobilers and shows that snowmobilers have a high level of satisfaction with the snowmobile trails and with access to restaurants, fuel and rated the overall fun of the sport at more than 90 percent.

New York's report was joined by a positive report from the South Dakota snowmobiling community prepared for them by the University of South Dakota. The University found that snowmobiling generates $131.6 million dollars in annual economic impact in South Dakota.  This economic activity gave direct and indirect support for more than 1,400 full time jobs.

The direct effects of snowmobiling are impressive in providing employment opportunities for hundreds of workers in the snowmobile industry and the related hospitality industries and tourism industries.

The staff of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire conducted a study for the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association and found that the total impact on New Hampshire's economy generated by snowmobiling was $586 million dollars annually.

The survey found that visitors to New Hampshire spend approximately $114 per visitor per day when snowmobiling in New Hampshire. 

Yes, snowmobiling is an important part of the economic engine for all winter tourism areas. If you have the infrastructure of trails and related accommodations along with snow cover, your area will generate millions of dollars of economic activity by welcoming snowmobilers to visit and enjoy your area.

Individuals questioned in the surveys told us that on an average annual basis, they take eight snowmobile related trips per winter. Typically a snowmobiling trip lasts two days and snowmobilers are finding the level of service and quality while snowmobiling is high and above average on the satisfactory table.

Snowmobiling is a very important part of the economic engine throughout North America and is growing in Northern Europe and Russia. It is estimated that snowmobiling generates more than  $3 billion worth of economic activity in the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.  It is expected that the economic impact of snowmobiling will continue to outperform the GDP growth of most countries.

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