- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Park Service says 61 million people visited its monuments, memorials and other sites in the Washington area last year. That’s an increase of nearly 5 million over 2015.

The park service said Tuesday that those visitors spent $1.2 billion while visiting parks in the U.S. capital, Maryland and Virginia. It says that spending supported more than 18,000 jobs and contributed $1.75 billion to the regional economy. In 2015, there were 56 million visitors and the economic impact was $1.59 billion.

The report on visitor spending was prepared by economists from the park service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Visitors spent the most money on lodging, followed by food and beverages.

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