SANTA FE, NM - The restoration and revitalization of the tourism industry was identified as a key issue in the Executive Budget Recommendation for FY22, which included $25 million special appropriation for the New Mexico Tourism Department (NMTD) to help ignite commerce and bring New Mexico’s leisure and hospitality employees back to work.

The $25 million special appropriation will allow NMTD to expand time in market in high-value markets throughout the year.

“The tourism industry has faced unprecedented hardship over the past 10 months and it's up to us to carve a path forward to recovery,” Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said. “With a substantial and targeted investment in revitalization efforts, we can create the demand to expedite our recovery efforts.”

NMTD estimates that an annual investment of $25 million in tourism promotion could shorten the tourism industry’s timeline for recovery to three years. Without a substantial investment in recovery efforts for the tourism industry, NMTD estimates it could take up to seven years for a full recovery.

An analysis by NMTD estimates the economic injury to the New Mexico tourism industry was roughly $4.3 billion in 2020. The estimated economic injury includes losses in visitor spending, state and local tax revenue, and unemployment benefits. The NMTD analysis estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic cost the state an average of $337 million per month in visitor spending and $163 million in state and local tax revenue.

As of November, there are over 20,000 unemployed workers from the leisure and hospitality sector. An analysis from NMTD suggests that one of the strongest economic development strategies that may yield a strong return for the state would be to get the 20,000 unemployed leisure and hospitality workers displaced by the pandemic back to work, whether it is through filling previously vacated jobs or through a specialized training program.

“If we take a data-driven approach to revitalizing the tourism economy and make strategic investments in marketing and tourism development, we will be able to generate strong demand for travel when the time is right,” Schroer said. “We have a lot of ground to recover, but we have the opportunity to bring back New Mexico's tourism economy stronger than ever."

A flat budget of $17.1 million for FY22 was recommended for the Tourism Department in the Executive Budget.

Click here to view the complete FY22 Executive Budget Recommendation.