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Governor Susana Martinez identifies tourism for increased investment

The proposed budget released by Governor Susana Martinez requests increased spending for one of New Mexico’s strongest industries

By NM Hospitality Association 

January 5, 2018 – Governor Martinez released her administration’s budget proposal which calls for a $3.5 million increase for the New Mexico Tourism Department to be used for a significant marketing push in the San Francisco area.

“Governor Martinez continues to demonstrate her commitment to growing New Mexico’s economy through her prioritization of the Tourism Department’s marketing budget. Year after year, New Mexico True advertising has proven to deliver a strong return on investment, with visitation, economic impact, and tourism jobs at an all-time high. I’m thrilled for her vote of confidence in the department’s brand marketing initiatives and support for New Mexico’s thriving tourism industry,” said New Mexico Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham.

The increased investment to promote New Mexico as a premier tourism destination is a direct result of the industry’s significant growth over the last several years. New Mexico eclipsed the 100,000 job threshold in leisure and hospitality for the first time ever in 2017 when the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) indicated 100,200 jobs in leisure and hospitality in May 2017. NMDWS estimates an over-the-year employment increase of 2,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality in 2017 alone.

Direct visitor spending reached an all-time high of $6.4 billion in 2016, reported by the New Mexico Tourism Department. New Mexico visitor spending increased by 2.1 percent since 2015, and saw a 27.8 percent increase since 2010. Visitor spending generated $642 million in local and state taxes in 2016 and offset the household annual tax burden for New Mexico families by $841. Overall, tourism spending supports an estimated 8.4 percent of jobs for New Mexico residents.

The Governor’s proposed budget increase for the New Mexico Tourism Department (NMTD) evokes unified enthusiasm throughout the state. Tourism leaders recognize the NMTD’s excellent strategic approach to realizing a 7:1 return on investment and share optimism for the tourism economy’s potential with this additional investment.

“Tourism is one of the state’s most effective economic development strategies,” said Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “The current increases in jobs and revenues from the industry are significant, and we have tremendous untapped potential to continue that positive growth with more awareness of the state.”

“The Tourism Department has documented that it does an outstanding job with regard to the return on investment with its advertising dollars. New Mexico continues to have one of the smaller marketing budgets in spite of recent increases from the Legislature. Consideration of a larger investment in the upcoming session is critical to help expand the incredible value of tourism to our state. The Tourism industry is one of the few areas where growth can occur without infrastructure costs as we fill unoccupied bedrooms, unused restaurant seats and increase traffic on our existing roads,” said Randy Randall, Executive Director of TOURISM Santa Fe.

“Without the partnerships with the New Mexico Tourism Department in way of marketing support and financial assistance with events such as the Las Cruces Country Music Festival, we would not have been able to grow the festival as fast as we have in just five short years,” said Jennifer Bales, Executive Director of Visit Las Cruces. “Their support has been instrumental in bringing more awareness to Las Cruces and the southern part of the state. Tourism is an essential building block for creating sustainable economic growth, jobs and an increase in opportunity for new products and services.”

About the New Mexico Hospitality Association:

New Mexico Hospitality Association (formerly Tourism Association of New Mexico and New Mexico Lodgers Association, merged in Jan 2015) is a nonprofit that is focused on serving its members and all segments of the hospitality industry. The association delivers decades of combined experience to lead public policy and workforce development strategy for a more prosperous economy. Tourism & hospitality is the state’s premier industry and contributed $630 million in state and local tax revenue in 2015. Tourism had its largest economic impact in state history for a sixth straight year, injecting $6.3 billion into New Mexico’s economy and supporting nearly 90,400 jobs in 2015. The association represents member interests at the state and national level, cultivates professional development, and targets opportunity to incubate and foster long-term job and wealth creation statewide. The association’s members are true investors and are playing a crucial role in growing tourism and New Mexico’s economy.

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