National Park Tourism Puts $287 Million into Missouri Economy
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 20, 2014 - A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 3.9 million visitors to Missouri's national parks in 2013 spent $287 million and supported 4,758 jobs in the state.
"The national parks of Missouri attract millions of visitors a year from across the country and around the world," said Patricia Trapp, acting director of NPS's Midwest Region, which includes Missouri and 12 more states. "Whether it's a day trip of a long family vacation, they come for a great experience -- and they end up spending a little money along the way, too. This new report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. This reality makes parks tourism an important factor in Missouri's economy as well. It's a result we all can support."
Missouri's national parks are Harry Truman National Historic Site, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Ozark National Scenic River, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, George Washington Carver National Monument, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis.
The peer-reviewed NPS visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The national report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in "gateway" communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more about 237,000 jobs nationally -- 197,000 them in park gateway communities -- and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
The 2013 national economic benefit figures differ from the 2012 results, which were reported earlier this year. In 2012, Missouri's national parks attracted 4.17 million visitors who spent $298 million supporting nearly 5,000 in the state. The authors of the report said the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 accounted for most of the national decline in park visitation. The economists also cited inflation adjustments for differences between visitation and visitor spending, jobs supported and overall effect on the U.S. economy.
According to the national report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent), food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), and admissions and fees (10.3 percent). Souvenirs and other expenses accounted for the remaining 10 percent. Nationally, the largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).
Missouri Settles Apple e-Books Antitrust Suit
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 20, 2014 - Attorney General Chris Koster has announced that the 33 states litigating against Apple in the e-books antitrust litigation have reached a settlement that will pay up to $400 million in consumer damages if the liability order entered against Apple is affirmed by an appeals court.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, would resolve a July 2013 ruling that Apple conspired with five publishers to increase retail prices of e-books from 2010 to 2012.
Missouri joined the investigation prior to the filing of the lawsuit, served on the expert committee, and assisted with discovery and preparing the case for trial last June.
Following the trial, Judge Denise Cote ruled that Missouri, the other states, and the United States Department of Justice had proven that five leading publishers - Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster - conspired to eliminate retail e-book competition and raise prices ahead of the impending launch of the iPad. The judge found that Apple played a key role in facilitating the conspiracy, which would not have succeeded without their involvement. Apple has appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Consumers have already received compensation from a $166 million settlement fund paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy. The $400 million settlement with Apple is contingent upon the resolution of Apple's appeal of Judge Cote's 2013 ruling. The settlement provides for less relief if the decision is remanded for a new liability trial, and no relief in the event it is reversed without remand.
"E-book price increases were not the result of market forces, but rather a scheme that involved five publishers and was orchestrated by Apple," Koster said. "If the judgment against Apple is affirmed, Missouri consumers will share a total of $6.4 million in settlement compensation from this settlement, to be distributed based on e-book purchasing information. Affected consumers will recover approximately double the amount they overpaid due to the conspiracy, a clear victory for Missouri consumers."