By Ryan Boetel
The Navajo Nation Tourism Department said about 600,000 visitors in 2011 spent $113 million on the Navajo Nation, 32-percent increase in spending from 2002, when the tourism department completed a similar survey, said Roberta John, a program and project specialist for the tourism department.
The direct purchases were for lodging, gasoline, food and retail. The indirect economic benefits were from purchases by the tourism industry and increasing payroll in that industry, Thomas Combrink, a research specialist at Northern Arizona University, wrote in an email.
More than 25 percent of Navajo visitors were on the reservation for outdoor recreation, and many people pass through Navajoland on the way to the Grand Canyon, John said.
Guest information from Chaco Canyon National Historic Park was not included in the recent visitors survey, John said. The national park is surrounded by Navajo land and has about 45,000 visitors per year but is not operated by the tribe.