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NM tourism numbers continue to climb

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was another record-breaking year for tourism trips in New Mexico in 2016.  According to the state Tourism Department, there were an estimated 34.4 million trips in New Mexico last calendar year, up from 33.4 million in 2015.  The increase marked a 3 percent growth.

“A record number of people are visiting New Mexico and that means more money being spent in our communities,” said Gov. Susana Martinez.

Day trips increased fastest, up 4.9 percent, from just over 18 million to 19.2 million.

The number of overnight trips also increased, but by just .6 percent. Overnight trips climbed from 15.1 million to 15.2 million. Eighty-four percent of those were visitors from out of state.

Texas, California, Arizona and New York were the top markets for overnight visitors.

The numbers are extrapolated from a survey of 3,000 people conducted by Longwood Travel USA.

New Mexico has been using Longwood for the study going back to the 2010 calendar year, for which it reported a total of 31.2 million visits.

Longwood breaks the overnight trips broken into three categories: business, visiting friends and family and marketable. Marketable nights, nights stayed at resorts and hotels, represented 55 percent of all overnight stays, up 2.5 percent from 2015.

One negative of the report was the number of people visiting friends and family. The number fell to 31 percent of all overnight trips, down 8.2 percent from 2015.

According to Longwood, 86 percent of 2016 overnight trips were repeat visitors, up from 81 percent in 2015. Though the New Mexico Tourism Department did not have the exact number readily available, Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham did say that the satisfaction rate for visitors was “over the national average” indicating a potential positive for repeat visits.

Outdoor activities continue to be a large draw for New Mexico with visits to National Parks being twice the national average, 22 percent compared to 11 percent. Percentage of visitors who are visiting landmarks, hiking/backpacking and camping all exceed the national average.

Accommodation sector taxable gross receipts, lodging receipts and leisure and hospitality jobs all saw growth as well.