On Wednesday, July 5th, the New Mexico Tourism Department revealed the key statistics for 2016 visitation, signaling continued growth for the New Mexico travel and tourism industry.
The 2016 visitation numbers were revealed during a press conference in Albuquerque at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. The announcement was the first of four events featuring Governor Susana Martinez and Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham.
“As we begin another business summer travel season, we are continuing to develop our tourism industry, we are attracting more visitors to our state than ever before and encouraging our friends and family to come to New Mexico,” Governor Martinez said.
The numbers indicate net growth in both day trip and overnight travel to and throughout the state of New Mexico. There was an increase of 100,000 overnight visits from 2015 to 2016, and the Tourism Department revealed an even greater increase in day trip visitors. There was an increase in day trips to and throughout New Mexico by 900,000 from 2015 to 2016. Since 2010, day trips have increased by 19.3 percent and overnight trips have increased by 10.9 percent.
“Today is a huge celebration for all of us,” Secretary Latham said. “Our partnerships are really paying off.”
The Tourism Department also saw net growth in overnight visits from out-of-state travelers in 2016. There were an estimated 84,000 more overnight out-of-state visitors in 2016, with 55 percent of those visits stemming from marketable trips. Business trips accounted for 14 percent of overnight out-of-state visitors in 2016, and family & friends visits accounted for 31 percent of those trips in 2016.
Tourism activity through marketable trips is primary focus of the New Mexico True campaign, and increased visitation through marketable trips indicates success for the New Mexico True campaign. The Tourism Department revealed there were 206,000 more marketable overnight trips in 2016 compared to 2015. Of those marketable trips, 17 percent were dedicated to touring, 10 percent for outdoors experiences, 8 percent for special events and 6 percent for city trips.
As for the motivations for overnight trips to and throughout New Mexico, the 2016 visitation numbers suggests the rich culture and history of New Mexico is an increasingly valuable asset for travel and tourism. For New Mexico visitors, 36 percent traveled to visit a historical location, 27 percent sought a cultural activity or attraction and 15 percent sought a culinary experience. These visitation motivators for New Mexico travel significantly outweigh the national average.
The activities overnight visitors participated in highlight the natural features and cultural assets of New Mexico. When traveling to and around New Mexico, 22 percent of visitors indicated they visited a national or state park, or visited a landmark or historical site. Eighteen percent of visitors visited a museum and 12 percent visited an art gallery. Sixteen percent of visitors went hiking and 11 percent camped.
What does this mean for the hospitality and tourism industry?
Day trips and overnight trips from both in-state and out-of-state travelers help keep local economies healthy and vibrant. Since 2010, there has been an increase of leisure and hospitality jobs in New Mexico by 12.6 percent. Hotel/Motel Lodging Receipts have increased by 27.1 percent since 2010 according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Association Report, and the accommodation sector taxable gross receipts have increased by 30.1 percent since 2010 according to the New Mexico Tax & Revenue Department.
Through our continued and unified support of the Tourism Department’s statewide tourism initiatives, we are all able to do our part to help guarantee sustainable, long-term success for hospitality and tourism throughout New Mexico.