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Contact: Kelly Carroll, 575-479-6124 ext 230Tourism to White Sands National Monument creates over $35,000,000 in Economic Benefits Report shows visitor spending supports 450 jobs in local economy
ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO – A National Park Service (NPS) report released April 25, 2018 shows that 612,468 visitors to White Sands National Monument in 2017 spent $31,709,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 450 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $35,729,700.
“White Sands National Monument welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Marie Sauter “We are delighted to share the story of White Sands and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”
Year to date visitation has increased by 5% from 2017, continuing a trend the park has seen for the past few years.
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.
The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurant sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.
According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).
Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
The National Park Service invites all to visit http://www.nps.gov/whsa to plan a White Sands visit. To learn more about national parks in New Mexico and how the National Park Service works with New Mexico communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/NewMexico.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov