ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 415,000 visitors to White Sands National Park in 2020 spent $22.5 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 309 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $26.0 million.
“We have been excited to welcome our local communities back to White Sands National Park as a place to explore, discover and share the stories and the experiences it provides,” said Superintendent Marie Sauter. “During the pandemic, White Sands has been a needed destination to responsibly recreate in a safe environment.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally; 194,400 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $28.6 billion.
Looking at the economics of visitor spending nationally, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $5 billion in economic output. The restaurants sector was had the second greatest effects, with $3 billion in economic output. Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 43,100 jobs and more than 45,900 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 18,100 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 14,300 jobs.
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 on the NPS Social Science Program page on NPS.gov.
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.