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Contact(s):Meg Matthews

Monday, August 29, 2011

Little Rock Zoo is Good for the Economy


For more information, contact:

Susan Altrui, Little Rock Zoo

(501) 661-7208 direct

(501) 240-2758 cell

Steve Feldman, Association of Zoos and Aquariums

(301) 562-0777 x 252

Study Shows Impact of Zoo on Regional and Local Economy

Zoo Drives Tourism to Little Rock Area, Promotes Job Growth

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Aug. 29, 2011) – The Little Rock Zoo generates significant economic benefits locally, regionally and nationally, according to a new analysis conducted on behalf of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“The Little Rock Zoo supports the community in more ways than one,” said Jim Maddy, president and CEO of AZA. “Not only does the Zoo have a deep commitment to science education and wildlife conservation, but it also generates valuable economic benefits to the region.”

AZA commissioned a state-by-state economic impact analysis conducted by nationally recognized economist, Dr. Stephen Fuller. According to Fuller’s report, the Little Rock Zoo generated the following for Arkansas:

· $13.6 million in economic activity (contribution to national GDP),

· $4.7 million in personal earnings (salaries and wages), and

· 140 jobs.

“Zoos and aquariums, including the Little Rock Zoo, play a significant role in the economy of Arkansas,” added Maddy.

The Little Rock Zoo is a valuable community resource, including visits by tens of thousands of school children every year, and plays a vital role in wildlife conservation. Beyond these important community benefits, the Little Rock Zoo’s economic impact includes:

· Employing 40 full-time people,

· Spending $2 million each year on goods and services,

· And serving nearly 300,000 visitors each year with 75 percent coming from outside the Little Rock area.

Dr. Fuller writes in his report:

“Annual spending by zoos and aquariums for operations and capital projects generates significant economic benefits for their host jurisdictions. These benefits build from the initial outlays, as they are re-spent across the breadth of the economy. These benefits accumulate and expand the economy’s total output as measured by their contributions to gross domestic product and respective gross state products. These benefits also generate new personal earnings to the benefit of workers residing in the host jurisdictions and support job growth locally, regionally ands nationally.”

In addition, zip code data collected from guests attending the Zoo shows that 75 percent of all Zoo visitors are from outside the city of Little Rock. A survey conducted last spring of Zoo guests’ spending behaviors showed that out-of-town visitors to the Zoo also purchased gas for their trip, ate at a local restaurant, and/or shopped at a local retailer.

“The Little Rock Zoo attracts guests from outside the Little Rock area that have a direct economic benefit for the city. In addition, the Zoo creates economic activity by building new exhibits and contracting for goods and services,” said Dr. Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic forecaster with the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock .

The cumulative economic impact of 212 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums as they serve more than 179 million annual visitors is:

· $16.0 billion in economic activity (contribution to national GDP),

· $4.7 billion in personal earnings (salaries and wages), and

· 142,000 jobs.

A copy of the report can be found at

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit


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