The New Mexico Tourism Department’s (NMTD) advertising efforts continue to be incredibly successful, and it is critical that New Mexico deliver incredible experiences highlighted in NMTD’s advertising. To this end, robust investments in the continuous improvement of the state’s tourism infrastructure is key.
New Mexico set a visitation record in 2022 with an estimated total of 40.8 million trips, surpassing the previous record of 39 million trips set in 2021. Of the estimated 40.8 million trips to New Mexico in 2022, 16.7 million were overnight trips, with an average length stay of 3.7 nights, representing a 5.8 percent increase from 2021.
The total economic impact of tourism in New Mexico in 2022 was $11.2 billion, of which $8.3 billion was direct visitor spending. Visitor spending in New Mexico in 2022 helped to support the state's local business ecosystem. Overnight trips to New Mexico in 2022 more frequently included souvenir and boutique shopping compared to the U.S. average. Additionally, dining during trips to New Mexico more frequently occurred at local restaurants compared to the U.S. average. This surge in visitor spending has made tourism the second-fastest sector in job growth in New Mexico, after oil and gas. Visitor spending in New Mexico sustained 91,279 total jobs and generated $782 million State & Local taxes. At the same time, the success of the New Mexico True brand has undoubtedly served to increase the state’s competitiveness as a tourist destination.
In order to remain competitive, it is critical that the state focus strategically on improving state tourism assets by investing in the infrastructure that our visitors and our residents enjoy. The New Mexico Tourism Department’s (NMTD) advertising efforts continue to be incredibly successful, and it is critical that New Mexico deliver incredible experiences highlighted in NMTD’s advertising. To this end, robust investments in the continuous improvement of the state’s tourism infrastructure is key.
The following report provides recommendations for funding select tourism-related infrastructure projects in the State of New Mexico. For the purposes of this report, tourism-related infrastructure refers to projects which serve to: (a) increase visitation, (b) improve or enhance the visitor experience, and (c) spur economic development opportunities through NMTD’s Tourism Development Division supports communities in building New Mexico True experiences that deliver the brand promise – adventure steeped in culture. For more information, please contact Holly Kelley, Tourism Development Director. (Holly.Kelley@td.nm.us/505-629-8234). Examples of tourism-related infrastructure include but are not limited to: airport infrastructure; outdoor recreation (trail development, connectivity, wayfinding, water recreation, etc.); rehabilitation of historic and cultural assets and facilities; public art; and the development of convention and performance venue infrastructure.
The recommendations provided in this report reflect tourism-related infrastructure projects identified in collaboration with the state’s seven Councils of Government (COG). New Mexico’s COGs function as regional planning districts which assist local governments in the planning and execution of community and economic development projects and initiatives. Leveraging their technical expertise and the relationships of the COGs with their local governments, NMTD partnered with these organizations to identify the tourism-related infrastructure priorities for each region. Additionally, NMTD collaborated with the Department of Finance and Administration’s Local Government Division to ensure that recommended projects were represented in the State’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP).