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University of Minnesota Extension

Potential economic impact of a city-owned campground in Fairmont, Minnesota

Key findings for communities

Scenic lake view

Potential for campground use by current visitors: Current visitors to Fairmont had a high awareness of the city’s lakes and parks. This finding suggests a city-owned campground/park on one of the lakes would be well positioned for visitor marketing.

Campground user scenarios: Extension developed five campground user scenarios. The five scenarios were based on size and use of comparable city- and county-owned campgrounds. Scenarios varied in number of sites, average number of people per slot, and occupancy rates to illustrate how these individual factors affected economic impact.

Campground user spending: The average campground user was estimated to spend $71 per day (including their campground fee) while camping in the proposed city-owned campground. For a family of four, this was $284 of daily spending.

Potential economic contribution: The annual potential economic impact of a lakeside campground in Fairmont ranged from a low of $187,200 (scenario four) to a high of $380,713 (scenario three).

Local versus visitor spending: Sixty percent of campground users were anticipated to be local residents. Local residents using city-owned facilities are important, as they pay the taxes supporting the park.

Top industries affected: Industries not serving users — but feeling the largest impacts from the campground — would include real estate, construction, and wholesale trade. Indirect effects would be largest in real estate and construction. Induced effects would be highest in real estate and ambulatory health care (primarily doctors and dentists).

About this report

The City of Fairmont is considering the potential of a city-owned, lakeside campground. Understanding how the campground may affect the local economy is an important component of the planning process. University of Minnesota Extension conducted an economic impact analysis to analyze the potential economic impact of building a campground in Fairmont.

To measure the number of potential campground users, Extension used two approaches. First, Extension collaborated with Visit Fairmont (the local convention and visitors bureau). Visit Fairmont recently worked with University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center to develop a visitor profile by surveying current visitors to the city. Second, Extension interviewed seven operators at city- and county-owned campgrounds in southern Minnesota. To measure spending by potential campground users, Extension used this visitor profile data.

More about this report

Read full report (PDF)


Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst

Reviewed in 2019

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