Last week, the New Mexico Tourism Department hosted its first ever Travel Tank event in Albuquerque, a “Shark Tank” style pitching competition that brought tourism professionals from all over the state face-to-face with top-tier media for a chance to win future coverage for their unique story idea.

“Travel Tank was a huge success; a win for everyone involved,” said Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. “What began as an educational opportunity for members of our regional marketing boards ended with the promise of dozens of stories and a new relationship between the tourism industry and our journalist ‘sharks.’ Everyone walked away feeling great about the experience, and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Each of the department’s six regional marketing boards had a unique pitch that they gave while in “the tank:”

  • The Southwest Region pitched the pet-friendly travel experiences found in their corner of the state, like dining with your dog or taking your four-legged friend kayaking at Elephant Butte Lake State Park.
  • The Northwest Region offered up a new authentic Native American jewelry tour experience aimed at millennials. Those on the tour can visit with local artisans and watch the creation of the jewelry that they can then purchase.
  • North Central Region went with the “Fearless Female Frontier” angle for their girlfriend getaways pitch. They talked about New Mexico as a frontier for women who are breaking boundaries, and used Georgia O’Keefe and the Harvey Girls as examples.
  • The Northeast Region’s “Diners, Darkness and Dudes” pitch brought up Harding County’s two new restaurants (they did not have any restaurants within the county for nearly two years), dark skies for star gazing, and the Philmont Scout Ranch opening up to families.
  • The Southeast Region’s “-Est List” invited New Mexicans to travel to the region for the highest zip line, the brightest night (Full Moon tour at White Sands), sampling wine from the oldest vine, and checking out the coolest pirate experience.
  • Last into the tank was the Central Region who introduced the “new native” as an emerging trend for products and experiences grown out of New Mexico’s ancient cultural heritage. Their pitch included Starbucks-style coffee mugs designed by native artists, and a customized tour of Chaco Culture National Historic Park based out of the new Hotel Chaco in Old Town Albuquerque.

Dean Staley of KRQE stated afterward, “One of the best events I've attended,” while Rosalie Rayburn said “It was fascinating and informative.”

Marisa Maez also said “It was one of the best media events I’ve ever been a part of. I loved it!”