Tourism to White Sands National Monument Creates $29,352,100 in Economic Benefits

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Date: July 5, 2016

Contact: Becky Burghart, 575-479-6124 ext. 230

Alamogordo, NM

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 497,506 visitors to White Sands National Monument in 2015 spent $25,729,300 in communities near the park. That spending supported 387 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $29,352,100. 

"White Sands National Monument welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Marie Frías Sauter.  "We are delighted to share the story of White Sands and the experiences offered. We see the monument as a way to introduce our visitors to southern New Mexico, west Texas and all that this area 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 an important 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." 

 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. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service. The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally;252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion. 

 According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent). 

 Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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:

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

Last updated: September 10, 2016

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