ALAMOGORDO, NM (KRQE) – Despite the ongoing pandemic, an attraction in New Mexico is once again seeing record visits. In the second year of the pandemic, White Sands National Park welcomed more than 780,000 visitors – a number that continues to grow year on year. “It’s an extremely magical place and I think it has become so popular with people. It’s definitely a destination not just for citizens here in New Mexico, but for people across the country and even overseas, ”said park warden Kelly Carroll.
In 2020, White Sands National Park welcomed approximately 415,000 visitors. The National Parks Service says this nearly doubled in 2021 with more than 782,000 visitors from around the world. Carroll says the designation of White Sands as a national park in 2019 is likely the reason for the increase.
Unlike many places right now, you won’t notice a difference in your visit due to the pandemic. “It’s a place we can go out and we can be safe with the family. And we can go out and we can let the problems that we face all the time maybe go away for a few hours, ”Carroll said.
Neighboring towns are also feeling the boost. According to a National Park Service report, in 2020 visitors spent $ 22.5 million in neighboring communities with more than 360,000 more guests in 2021, spending of course also expected to have jumped. Carroll says they see the most visitors in the spring, summer, and love the vacations when a lot of people are traveling. The previous record of visits was pre-pandemic in 2019, when the park welcomed more than 608,000 visitors.