UC Study Shows Economic Impact of $679 Million in Hamilton County from 2020-2023
CINCINNATI, OH (June 5, 2023) – A new study by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center found that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’seconomic impact in Hamilton County from fiscal years 2020 to 2023 totals $679.7 million (approximately $169.9 million each year)and that, over the same period, it generated $34 million in tax revenue for local governments and the State of Ohio.
“We’re a world-class Zoo, and that’s why we attract 1.7 million visitors annually,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “Our partnership with Hamilton County is one of the reasons that our relatively small Zoo has been able to achieve greatness, and everyone in the County shares in our success. The new UC report clearly shows that we deliver an astounding return on investment!”
According to the study, the Zoo successfully leveraged the tax levy funding it received from Hamilton County stating that, on average, for every dollar of tax levy funding the Zoo received, it generated $10 in economic benefits within Hamilton County due to the spending of nonlocal visitors.
“The Cincinnati Zoo is foundational to the Cincinnati region’s economic and societal well-being,” said Brad Evans, project director at the University of Cincinnati Economics Center. “In addition to the qualitative benefits it provides, the Zoo also directly and indirectly supports the local economy. During the four-year period that we studied, the Zoo led to or supported the employment of 8,825 individuals, which created, sustained, and supported a total $295.9 million in wages being paid.”
The study found that nonlocal visitors bringing new money into Hamilton County as a result of their trip to the Cincinnati Zoo led to a total output of $275.0 million over the four-year
period, or $68.7 million on average, annually. And about 58,115 of these nonlocal visitors stayed in a hotel during their trip to Cincinnati.
“The Cincinnati Zoo’s diverse animal collection, family-friendly experiences and industry-leading conservation efforts all contribute to its significant tourism economic impact in the Cincy region. Not only does it attract and delight visitors, it’s a wonderful asset to our residents,” said Julie Calvert, President& CEO of Visit Cincy.
The report also said that not only is top-quality animal care a priority, but impactful visitor and employee experiences are very important to Cincinnati Zoo leaders as well. Free field trips
and overnight opportunities for under-resourced schools are provided through the Living Classroom Education Access Fund (LCEAF).
The Zoo continues to grow and improve, as any successful business must do. It funds capital projects with privately raised dollars, and the execution of these projects creates jobs and income that stays in Hamilton County. The total direct capital investments made by the Cincinnati Zoo totaled $44.2 million within Hamilton County from FY2020-2023. This direct output led to an additional $27.4 million in indirect output, totaling $71.6 million.
The reach and influence of the Zoo’s social media presence were highlighted in the study. It stated that social media accounts have connected individuals from all over the world to the Zoo and the Greater Cincinnati Region. This social media exposure has helped to elevate the profile of Greater Cincinnati. During FY2022 and FY2023, the social media of the Cincinnati Zoo generated a value of $47.6 million. Cincinnati Zoo has the largest social following of any Zoo in the world!
Other Cincinnati Zoo highlights found in the study:
· Offering visitors educational experiences and opportunities for community involvement is just a part of the way the Cincinnati Zoo benefits Hamilton County. Another significant component of this is demonstrated through the economic and fiscal impacts it provides to the local area. Through daily operations spending, capital investments, SSA vendor expenditures, and local/nonlocal visitor purchases, the Cincinnati Zoo maintains a vital role in stimulating the Hamilton County economy.
· The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden clearly stands in its role as a key part of
the economic and societal well-being in Hamilton County
- Cincinnati Zoo named to U.S News and World Report best zoos list – Cincinnati Business Courier (bizjournals.com) Only Ohio Zoo listed
- Top Travel Destination named by USA Today – Feb 5, 2023 – in special section that went to 200 Gannett publications
- Voted #1 Best Zoo in the U.S. by USA Today readers in 2022, 2021, and 2019.
- Home to #1 Cincinnatian! Fiona the hippo voted #1 in CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati© Reader’s Poll 5 years in a row (2018-2022 – dethroned by Joe Burrow in 2023)
- Cincinnati, Ohio listed as #1 best place to visit. Cincinnati Zoo was listed as a reason – Best Places to Travel September 2022 (travelandleisure.com)
- Top mention in articles about British Airways new direct flight to Cincinnati
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Reviews | U.S. News Travel (usnews.com)