Record Shattering News for New Mexico

By R.W.

Governor Susana Martinez announces record-shattering tourism numbers at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque on Wednesday.

It’s hard to believe good news about any aspect of the New Mexico economy, and yet…!

Governor Martinez announced last Wednesday that 34.4 million trips were made to New Mexico in 2016, nearly a million more than the previous year, breaking another tourism record for the state. According to the governor’s office, overall trips to New Mexico have grown 15.4 percent since 2010.

“For the fifth consecutive year, New Mexico has experienced record-breaking tourism,” said Martinez. New Mexico is a leader in tourism, with trips to the state growing at double the national average. Martinez went on to say: ” A record number of people are visiting New Mexico and that means more money being spent in our communities – large and small.”

It should be noted though, that the numbers counted include not just a rising number of visitors to the state but also a large increase of New Mexicans travelling within the state, up to 30 percent of all those counted.  Also the “trip” stats are made from surveys filled out by travelers and include people who are driving through the state on their way to somewhere else.

The numbers also include long-haul truck drivers who stop to shower in a truck stop and fuel up, and people in layovers at the airports.

Even with these provisions it can be said that the figures could be somewhat exaggerated. The 34.4 million visitors Martinez and Latham claim is about 10 percent of the entire population of the United States, a number way beyond anything our local hotel industry could handle.

But since so many things are awry in the state and New Mexico is struggling against terrible odds perhaps this is a moment not to again indulge in listing all those failures. This can be a moment when we should turn to hope that there is some truth in this  announcement and that it will begin a chain reaction, lowering the high unemployment and all its horrible consequences, and in turn help in reducing the rapidly rising wave of crime. Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham said state officials haven’t seen any evidence that concerns about crime are discouraging visitors from coming to the state.

The state’s leisure and hospitality industry added another 2,600 Leisure and Hospitality jobs in 2016, a 2.8 percent increase since last year and an 8.6 percent increase since 2010.

“The New Mexico True campaign brings attention to what is ‘true’ about our state’s vibrant culture and heritage; the things that set us apart from every other state in the country,” Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said. “Through the use of breathtaking imagery and stunning videography, we’re able to showcase the experiences that consumers are hungry for, opening their eyes to New Mexico as the best destination for culinary travel, outdoor adventure, and abundant cultural opportunities.”

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About New Mexico True: The New Mexico Tourism Department created the New Mexico True campaign in response to common misconceptions that New Mexico is a dry, arid, barren desert state with nothing to do. Built upon the idea that a trip to New Mexico is an “adventure that feeds the soul,” the campaign provides a platform for unified brand messaging for more than 50 communities and businesses around the state. New Mexico True has received several awards for excellence in marketing and advertising, including the recent 2017 Hermes Gold Creative Award for the brand’s newly relaunched website at newmexico.org. Since the launch of the campaign in 2012, the economic impact of tourism in New Mexico has grown for six consecutive years.

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