On Monday, February 6, 2023, the New Mexico Tourism Department (NMTD) announced the agency will be able to enter the San Francisco market as its next major fly market through a $20 million special appropriation included in the Fiscal Year 2024 executive budget recommendation.

NMTD made the announcement at Tourism Day at the Legislature on Feb. 6, 2023, at the New Mexico State Capitol Building where the department also recognized the 10th year anniversary of New Mexico True and the 100th year anniversary of New Mexico Magazine.

“By bringing New Mexico True into the San Francisco market, we have the opportunity to take New Mexico’s potential for economic development to a whole new level,” Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said. “Entering the San Francisco market has been a goal of the Tourism Department for years, and now is the right time to seize on this opportunity.”

NMTD conducted a market potential study in 2021 that identified San Francisco as one of the most viable fly markets the department has yet to enter. That same model identified Los Angeles as another viable market, which NMTD entered in Spring 2021. As a result, New Mexico realized an estimated 80,000 trips and $107 million in visitor spending attributed to New Mexico True advertising in the Los Angeles market by the end of the 2021 campaign.

According to NMTD research, travelers from San Francisco view New Mexico favorably for qualities such as authenticity, interesting history and culture, and great Native and Indigenous experiences.

The ability to enter the San Francisco market will present New Mexico with economic opportunities beyond tourism. According to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), San Francisco ranks as the 5th largest financial market in the world. According to a halo study previously conducted by NMTD, people who were exposed to New Mexico True advertising were 25 percent more likely to believe that New Mexico is a good place to start a business compared to people who were not exposed to New Mexico True advertising.

NMTD presented its FY24 executive budget recommendation to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee later that afternoon where the department provided more details about the budget recommendation. The base budget recommendation of $24.8 million includes a $3.5 million increase for marketing to accommodate for media inflation and retain the department’s marketing activities in current fly markets.

The $20 million special appropriation to enter the San Francisco market will also allow NMTD to extend its national advertising strategy through all four seasons, execute major airport out-of-home media takeovers, expand national advertising to the New Mexico True Certified Program, among other strategies.

The FY24 executive budget recommendation for NMTD also included a $3.5 million special appropriation to sustain the department’s investment in cooperative grant programs and a $5 million special appropriation to develop a tourism development fund which will aim to support tourism-related infrastructure and product development.