New Mexico Tourism Department’s Public Relations team is dedicated to sharing the vibrant and authentic stories that lie within the Land of Enchantment. With partners’ help and dedication to the New Mexico True mission, PR Director Aimee Awonohopay was able to pitch uniquely New Mexican stories to popular publications, including National Geographic while in Washington D.C. for a media mission.

The meeting with National Geographic Traveler Magazine Editor in Chief George Stone and Features Editor Amy Alipio was the result of developing a solid rapport for the past few years with the leading publication. NatGeo editors expressed great interest in authentic, venturesome destinations and our rich Native American culture.

The nearly hour-long meeting (a joint effort by HUB Destination Marketing and NMTD) was only one of many during multiple media missions last month to expand and share New Mexico heritage and destinations in efforts to gain earned media coverage.

Aimee and HUB also made a trip to New York City. Each meeting with each journalist was unique in terms of journalist’s interest and beats.  A majority of the journalists expressed interest in luxury travel, such as spa-type destinations and contemporary art, while one journalist in particular, Laurie Werner, a contributing editor for ForbesLife, was interested in “lesser known,” off-the-beaten-path experiences to write about. With the array of attractions and diverse landscape in New Mexico there was plenty to pitch and hook the writer’s interest.

Traveling to the east coast was a great opportunity to present travel writers with ideas outside of their normal scope. For example, when Aimee and HUB pitched the New Mexico True Dark Skies Trail many of the writers were stunned and intrigued to learn more because stars and open spaces in New York and along the east coast are practically non-existent.

Prior to the New York and Washington D.C. mission, Aimee, HUB Destination Marketing and a few Travel Tank finalists (Northeast Regional Marketing Board chair, Mary Libby-Campbell, Northeast Regional Marketing Board member Kimberly Allen and Michelle Brideux from the City of Alamogordo) traveled to Austin for a media mission with our neighbors. This area is an important market for New Mexico, as Texans love to escape to New Mexico’s cool, fresh mountain air and away from the heat and humidity.

Among the more than half a dozen journalists the team met with, two had strong national ties. Pam LeBlanc is an adventure and travel writer for Austin American Statesman and Mandy Ellis is a freelance writer in Austin whose work has appeared in US News & World Report and AFAR. Each partner on the media mission pitched not only their Travel Tank stories, they also promoted each other and the entire state showing great New Mexico Pride.