Zoo, Safari Park bring $876M to county, study says

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SAN DIEGO — A study released Monday estimated that the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park had an $876 million impact on the local economy in 2012.

San Diego ZooThe report by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and Applied Development Economics of Walnut Creek found that around 9,920 jobs were dependent on San Diego Zoo Global, which employed about 2,300 people and had a payroll of $117 million.

“Tourists who come to San Diego primarily to visit the Zoo or Safari Park spend more than $250 million dollars at other businesses in our county,” said taxpayers association economist Sean Karafin.

Tourists make up 57 percent of the visitors to the zoo and 21 percent to the Safari Park, the inland North County facility that used to be known as the Wild Animal Park.

The study found that by attracting guests from out of town, the zoo brings outside money to the region, which creates jobs. Visitors will also spend money at hotels, restaurants and other theme parks, the SDCTA said.

Also, the zoo was responsible for $76.1 million in state and local tax revenue in 2012, according to the report. The figure breaks down to $27.5 million in sales taxes, $7.9 million in hotel taxes, $1 million for the tax that funds San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District and $19.9 million in property taxes.

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