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Yet another boost for tourism in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An all-time high of 33.4 million trips were taken in New Mexico in 2015, up from 32.7 million the year prior, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.

At a press conference at the Rio Grande Zoo, Martinez attributed an increase in the number of out-of-state visits to the New Mexico True tourism campaign, which had a budget of $9.1 million in the fiscal year that just ended. The campaign began in 2012 with a budget of $2.5 million.

“‘Adventure that feeds the soul’ works,” said Martinez, referring to the campaign’s slogan. “We’re breaking records for the fourth year in a row.”

The total number of visits includes New Mexicans making in-state trips, and that figure dipped slightly from 30 percent of all visits in 2014 to 28 percent of all visits in 2015.

When asked about the the number of in-state visitors, Martinez told the Journal the decrease was likely a result of the low cost of fuel.

“Right now it’s affordable for people to drive a little farther, and sometimes that means going out of the state,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to add on a day to their weekend to explore New Mexico.”

The data come from Longwoods International, which surveyed 337,164 people — including 2,860 New Mexicans — about their travel habits, according to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. Latham said there was no indication of the state’s tourism industry slowing in the near future.

A statement released by the governor’s office said 2,567 tourism-related jobs were added in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase over last year and 8.4 percent  since 2010.

“Because of our tourism efforts, more people than ever before are visiting our state and spending more of their money in our communities,” Martinez said in the statement. “As a result, we’re breaking tourism records and sharing our unique culture, scenic vistas, unrivaled ski slopes and, of course, our green chile.”