ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Summer is here, and for many, it’s time to hit the road. But figuring out where to go and how to pack it all in is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth.
The New Mexico Tourism Department understands. That’s why last week, the department launched its New Mexico True “Enchanted 8” campaign.
The “Enchanted 8” is a list of eight road trips in New Mexico designed to maximize enjoyment and “feed your soul and your stomach,” the NMTD said in a news release.
Trips include a 16-stop trip for “True Families” beginning at Carlsbad Caverns and ending in Chama, and a trip for “True Foodies” which can include lessons with world renowned chefs, and a journey along the “Ale Trail” for beer connoisseurs.
There are also smaller, three-day regional trips.
The “Enchanted 8” site features tourism tips, write-ups on New Mexico ghost towns, a list of the best New Mexico trails and a food and drink travel guide.
“Over the past year we’ve seen a resurgence in popularity of road trips across the country,” Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham said in a news release on the campaign. “Visitors to New Mexico are more likely to tour multiple areas than stay in one place, so we’ve made it easy for them to plan a trip by mapping out experiences linked by a common interest.”
According to AAA, 55 percent of Americans are more likely to take a road trip this year than in 2016, and 69 percent of AAA’s respondents were planning to take a road trip in the next 12 months.
The Tourism Department hopes to bring in tourism dollars from out of state and push some local city dollars out to the rural areas.
“We expect to see a spike in interest from travelers outside the state,” Latham said. “But we also think this is a great opportunity to increase in-state travel and remind New Mexicans of how many great adventures there are here in our backyards.”
Latham told the Journal that the department is taking a wide approach to raising awareness about what New Mexico has to offer. It is using advertisements on Pandora, a music streaming app, in southern Colorado, west Texas, and eastern Arizona. “People who know about New Mexico but aren’t quite sure why they should visit,” said Latham. Latham also met with a group of 15 national travel writers prior to the launch of the “Enchanted 8” to spread the word to a more national audience.
“We really want to drive traffic to newmexico.org so that people can then find out about the ‘Enchanted 8′,” Latham said. The website also directs visitors to the New Mexico True Road Trip Store where people can “stock up on New Mexico True certified products for their big road trip,” Latham said.
The “Enchanted 8” road trips will exist “indefinitely,” according to Latham, but the campaign will end around Labor Day as the department pivots to autumn tourism.
The department has writeups on the featured road trips at www.newmexico.org and visitors are encouraged to share their journey’s with #nmtrue and #enchanted8.