Letters to the Observer: ABQ Resident thanks ‘NM True’ ad campaign for NM’s tourism boost

Editor:

Tourism is one of the second-largest employment and revenue sectors for the state, employing nearly 100,000 people, bringing in $6.6 billion in revenue and paying $660 million in state and local taxes.

Whether someone is deciding to move to or retire, buy a vacation home or open a business in our state, the first point of entry for many is as a visitor.

For many, the message that had them consider a trip to New Mexico in the first place was a well-placed New Mexico True ad.

The tourism industry and state economy are poised to move forward under the leadership of our new governor. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Jen Schroer have prioritized the growth of the state’s tourism industry by proposing an ambitious increase of $6.3 million in the overall tourism budget, of which $6.06 million will go into marketing and promotion.

While that is a significant increase to the current Tourism Department $10.5 million marketing budget, it is substantially lower than the 2017-18 budgets of our neighboring states:

• Colorado – $19.6 million

• Arizona –$21.7 million

• Utah – $22.5 million

• Texas – $24 million

We know the New Mexico True advertising campaign is working to change the image of New Mexico as a great tourism destination and promote our amazing cultural assets and outdoor adventures.

The New Mexico True brand campaign is being seen in major airports like Denver, Dallas, Houston and Chicago, and in other media, including airline magazines, digital ads, social media and in prominent news stories.

Because of the campaign’s success, we have seen a dramatic increase in tourism activity and visitor spending in every region of the state.

Since the rollout of the New Mexico True brand campaign in 2011, the number of annual visitors to the state has increased from 31.7 million to 36.1 million, a growth rate that is 50 percent higher than the national average, according to Longwoods International.

The increased budget will provide a measurable and substantive return on investment (ROI) for New Mexicans, which will help us diversify and grow our economy.

While we may never match our neighbors’ budgets, imagine what’s possible if we at least get close to their budgets. Every ROI metric shows the current campaign is outperforming industry metrics and, if we invest another $6 million, we can expect to see a robust ROI – in lodgers’ tax, gross receipts tax and revenue to the establishments and attractions that see a direct benefit from increased visitors.

New Mexico is a state in momentum. Tourism and economic development are on the rise.

Now is the time to keep the momentum going and see even more successes. Investing in tourism has brought us record numbers of visitors.

Let’s bring more – it’s good for everyone.

As active board members of the New Mexico Hospitality Association, we speak for our membership in saying that the tourism and hospitality industry is 100 percent behind the governor and cabinet secretary’s increased budget recommendation. We can only grow with bold action.

We know their plans will produce unprecedented results.

Tania Armenta

Albuquerque

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