Economic benefit from Mesa Verde estimated at $67 million, report says

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A new National Park Service report shows that 547,325 visitors to Mesa Verde in 2015 spent $55.4 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 814 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $66.8 million.

“Mesa Verde welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Cliff Spencer in a release. “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.”

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 $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, park visitor spending was for lodging (31%), food and beverages (20%), gas and oil (12%), admissions and fees (10%) and souvenirs and other expenses (10%).

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 and view year-by-year trend data. The tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.

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From May 2016.