Niagara Parks gave an overview of its 2017 year at Niagara regional council on Thursday.
The report, which provided more information that any previous year, said the NPC saw 8.2 million visitors.
Of those visitors, 3.8 million of them were unique, meaning it was the first time they had visited a park.
Janice Thomson, chair of Niagara Parks Commission, said the 3.8 million unique visitors spent an average of $318 each, generating around $1.2 billion in tourism-related revenue.
That revenue supported more than 15,000 jobs, provided more than $682 million in labour income and more than $458 million in tax revenue, said Thomson.
She said the figures are numbers the NPC has never been able to provide before, and come as part of an effort to assess and raise awareness about the economic impact of the NPC on the region.
On top of tourism-revenue, Thomson said the NPC’s operating expenditures totalled around $123.8-million in 2017, providing 1,460 full-time jobs, generating more than $75 million in job revenue for its employees and more than $48 million in tax revenue for three levels of government.
Furthermore, on top of generating revenue for the region, Ontario and the country, Thomson told council the NPC offers an even wider range of benefits to the region, such as: helping to preserve the Niagara River; maintaining parks, recreation spaces, roads and cultural assets; purchasing locally produced goods; increasing international exposure for the region; increasing property values and property tax revenue.
Thomson said properties located directly beside large parks operated by NPC can see property value rises of as high as 22 per cent.
As well, Niagara Parks teams with conservation groups to protect natural species such as bobolink, eastern meadowlark and several pollinator species and has planted more than 110,000 new trees since 2016.
Thomson gave a lengthy presentation, which also outlines the NPC’s 2018-2028 strategic plan. The presentation can be watched in full at, youtube.com/embed/UIRyWyaEdT8?rel=0&autoplay=1.