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Gov. Susana Martinez visited Roswell Monday to announce an increase in statewide tourism revenues for three consecutive years. She said Roswell has seen a 10 percent spike in its lodgers’ tax revenues so far this year.
By Timothy P. Howsare
Gov. Susana Martinez admitted she’s among those New Mexicans who have heard about all of the beautiful places in the Land of Enchantment, but has not visited as many as she would like.
The New Mexico landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Flat, arid deserts are contrasted by heavily forested mountain regions.
“We really don’t know every corner of our state even though we live here,” she told a small crowd Monday at the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium that included Mayor Dennis Kintigh and several city councilors.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Martinez said after graduating law school she began working in Las Cruces as a prosecutor. She hadn’t traveled much out of the southern part of the state, with its “100-plus” temperatures, until she campaigned for the state’s top office and subsequently was elected governor.
She encouraged everyone in the room to take weekend trips to the state’s beautiful and diverse regions.
Martinez was in Roswell Monday to announce that 2013 was the third consecutive year of substantial tourism growth in the state.
According to figures provided the Office of the Governor, overall spending by visitors increased by 7 percent in 2013, which translates to roughly $300 million in new revenue taken in by New Mexican communities.
As a result of this growth, the leisure and hospitality industry was able to create 1,700 new jobs last year, with an additional 700 new jobs already created between January and May of 2014, the governor announced.
Attracting out-of-state travelers to New Mexico is the primary focus of a marketing campaign unveiled in 2012 called New Mexico True.” At the heart of the campaign is a promise to tourists they will experience “adventure steeped in culture” while visiting our state.
Martinez said Roswell has seen a 10 percent increase in its lodgers’ tax revenue through May of this year.
“Roswell, you are proof that ‘New Mexico True’ is working on a community level,” she said.
Accompanying the governor and also outfitted in a bright red dress was Monique Jacobson, who heads the state’s tourism department.
Originally from Taos, Jacobson had worked for Pepsico in Chicago for 11 years before returning to New Mexico to work in the governor’s Cabinet.
“We have spectacular numbers,” Jacobson said.
She said the average spending by each out-of-state tourist increased by 4.6 percent last year. Overall visitor spending has grown by more than 24 percent since 2010. Over that time period, an additional 2.4 million visitors came to New Mexico, a state with a population of only 2 million.
Like Martinez, Jacobson said that in-state travel also is an important contributor to the state’s tourism revenue.
Kintigh thanked the governor for coming to Roswell. He said tourism is not only critical to the city in terms of dollars, but also provides an enhanced life style for its residents.
The New Mexico True campaign includes a video that features an original song by Albuquerque musicians Heath Warren and Nate Boitano.
As different cities, parks and Native American pueblos throughout the state are spotlighted, the people in the video sing along to the music.
Jacobson told the Roswell Daily Record that the campaign currently is being marketed in bordering states such as Texas, Colorado and Arizona along with distant big cities like San Diego, Chicago and New York City.
New Mexican tourism is being advertised on television, print and digital formats, along with advertising in airports and on taxi cabs, she said.
For more information on the New Mexico True campaign, visit www.newmexico.org