Mesa Verde visitors add $45.1 million to local economy

Report shows visitors support 617 jobs

A new National Park Service report shows that 460,237 visitors to Mesa Verde in 2013 spent about $45.1 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 617 jobs in the local area.

"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 in maintaining a sustainable tourism economy," Superintendent Cliff Spencer said.

The peer-reviewed spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging which accounted for 30.3 percent. Food and beverages trailed slightly at 27.3 percent, gas and oil accounted for 12.1 percent, admissions and fees contributed 10.3 percent. While visitors spent 10 percent of their cash on souvenirs and other expenses.

Nationwide, national parks helped restaurants and bars employ 50,000 people, and lodging establishments employ 38,000 people.