The New Mexico Tourism Department hosted its second annual Travel Tank, a “Shark Tank” style pitching competition that brings tourism professionals from all over the state face-to-face with top-tier travel writers for the chance to win media coverage for their unique story idea.
“Building upon last year’s momentum, Travel Tank 2.0 was great,” Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said. “Our tourism industry came to the table with some fantastic story ideas to pitch to travel writers, and I can’t wait to see the coverage our partners receive from this year’s event.”
Michelle Brideaux, Communications and Marketing Administrator for the City of Alamogordo, took the top spot of the six finalists chosen to participate, with her pitch to travel writers about the unknown oddities of White Sands National Monument. Brideaux’s pitch wins Alamogordo a booth at the Travel Media Showcase Family Travel Conference and Summit, a national conference for travel writers that Gallup will host this November.
Judges said Brideaux’s “out-of-the-box” thinking captivated and convinced them, as she shared unknown secrets and unusual facts about White Sands. Five well-known writers served as judges, providing feedback and advice for each of the six competitors.
“Alamogordo piqued my curiosity with fun insider secrets and exciting reasons to explore White Sands in new ways,” Liz Mays, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at said. Fellow writers Laura Powell, Melissa Garcia, Carolyn Graham and John Clary Davies joined Mays as judges for the competition.
Travel Tank was held in conjunction with the Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism as a way to give travel writers a unique opportunity to find uncommon story ideas about New Mexico while also providing a learning opportunity for participants and members of the audience.
“Travel Tank is a great opportunity for destinations to articulate their messages in a concise way,” freelance writer and judge, Laura Powell said. “It’s the updated version of the elevator pitch.”
Other finalists included:

* Visit Albuquerque: The unique cultural treasures and experiences found in the Flamenco Capital of the U.S.;
* Los Alamos County: The secrets of Spy City and the Manhattan Project;
* Northeast Regional Marketing Board: Why visitors should flock to the new “Birding Byway;”
* City of Roswell: Beyond aliens – the out-of-this-world art scene taking over the town; and
* Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals: Sacred Bike Tours.