New Mexico Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham discusses the New Mexico True campaign Thursday at the Convento in Española. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Tourism Secretary Visits Espanola To Discuss “New Mexico True” Campaign
ESPAÑOLA – Sharing her passion and garnering support for the New Mexico True campaign, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham is paying visits to Northern New Mexico communities including Española last Thursday.
“What I hope is to leave you with that same passion,” Latham told community leaders gathered Thursday at the Convento in Española, adding that Northern New Mexico accounts for 22 percent of all direct tourism sales in the state.
Latham cited statistics that show a 7 percent tourism spending increase, or $4.6 billion, since the state launched the New Mexico True campaign, which is a $300 million increase over 2012. Tourism in New Mexico brought in $1.3 billion in taxes in 2012, she said, adding that tourism jobs have increased by more than 2,200 positions each year in 2013 and 2014.
“Research shows the New Mexico True campaign is providing a 3 to 1 return on investment on every dollar spent at the tax base level,” she said.
The New Mexico True campaign aims to change the misguided impressions some folks outside the state have of New Mexico. Secretary Latham showed short videos Thursday of focus groups from Chicago and other cities asked what comes to mind when they think of New Mexico. Responses included, “a beach”, “snooze”, “desert,” “arrid and barren,” “dull”, “boring”, “desert wasteland”, “artsy”, “it’s on the way to Arizona and Colorado” and “It’s like Mars”.
“Does that make you mad … it infuriates me,” Latham said. “But those focus groups really helped us define our mission … we deserve to be a primary destination for adventure and travelers.”
There are four strategic planks in New Mexico True:
- Build a strong magnetic brand – the New Mexico True definition is something that separates us from all of our neighbors … things here that you find no where else … it’s about sight doing and not just sight seeing … New Mexico True speaks to our culture, our landscape and our spirit;
- Unify and lead the industry – today roughly 30 communites across the state, including Los Alamos have embraced the New Mexico True campaign and now private business is getting involved;
- Require rigor – including research; and
- Inspire in-state travel – the secretary said this is where there is really room for growth and where the public’s help is needed.
“Fall in love with New Mexico again … invite family and friends to visit,” Latham said.
The state has awarded a $7 million contract to Talweg Creative of Santa Fe to move the New Mexico True campaign forward. The newly re-designed website, newmexico.org, features New Mexico’s True Adventures – everything visitors need to find their way around New Mexico. The second phase of the website launch, planned for mid-May, will offer a detailed trip planner, complete with trip ideas, interactive maps, and photo and video galleries.
Latham closed teh meeting by inviting interested communities, organizations or businesses who want to participate in the New Mexico True campaign to work with the state tourism office to create a campaign that would be effective for the greater Española and Rio Arriba area.
Before, left, and after ads for Alamogordo under the New Mexico True program. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Española City Manager Kelly Duran presents a history of the Española Valley during Thursday’s event with New Mexico Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Española Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Valdez welcomes New Mexico Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Española Community Services Director Mark Trujillo speaks at Thursday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Rio Arriba County Economic Development Director Christopher Madrid discusses economic development efforts in the valley. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Española Mayor Alice Lucero, second from left, discusses her city with New Mexico Tourism Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com