Home – Welcome to Nature Tourism at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

Helping communities, landowners,  businesses and travelers with nature based recreation & tourism  skills, planning, development, management and marketing.

Adventure |  Agritourism | Fishing |  Hunting

We provide educational programs for the public, private business-both for profit and non-profit, landowners, and community leaders. Nature Tourism is a term used to encompass the broad range of natural resource based recreation and tourism activities. Please make use of the resources on this site and we welcome your success stories both big and small. We would like to hear about your needs and suggestions for content and training programs.

Texas Tourism Facts

State of Texas Tourism Economic Impact Figures1:

  • The GDP of the Texas travel industry was $26.8 billion in 2012. Only oil and gas production and related manufacturing has a significantly greater GDP.
  • Total direct travel spending in Texas was $65.7 billion in 2012.
  • The travel industry directly supported over 567,600 jobs with an annual payroll of $18.9 billon.
  • The travel industry indirectly supported through re-spending of travel related revenues an additional 499,000 jobs and $19 billion in earnings.
  • Total tax impact (local, state, federal) of travel spending in Texas was $7.9 billion. Without this tax-generated revenue, each household in Texas would have had to pay $840 in additional taxes (property taxes not included).fn1. Information gathered from the research conducted by the Office of the Governor, Texas and from Dean Runyan Associates, Inc., Portland Oregon. (2012P numbers)


The Economics of Nature Tourism

  • In 2011, 90.1 million Americans, 38% of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, enjoyed some form of fishing, hunting or wildlife-associated recreation. Outdoor recreation is a huge contributor to our nation’s economy.
  • Expenditures by hunters, anglers and wildlife recreation enthusiasts were $145.0 billion.
  • This equates to 1% of gross domestic product; meaning one out of every one hundred dollars of all goods and services produced in the U.S. is due to wildlife related recreation. Almost 37.4 million Americans participated in fishing, hunting or both sports in 2011.
  • Click here for more economic stats on Nature Tourism

The Recreation Economy

According to a study from the Outdoor Industry Association, nature-based tourism has a large national economic footprint (please note that the numbers below reflect national totals): For more statistics and studies, click here.

  • Contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
  • Supports nearly 6.5 million jobs across the U.S.
  • Generates $88 billion in annual state and national tax revenue.
  • Provides sustainable growth in rural communities.
  • Generates $289 billion annually in retail sales and services across the U.S.
  • Touches over 8% of America’s personal consumption expenditures— more than 1 in every 12 dollars circulating in the economy.

The Extension Nature Tourism program is one of multiple programs within the Recreation Park and Tourism Extension Unit. Please see the RPTS Extension web page for information about our other programs. 


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