Created: 10/30/2013 5:38 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4
It may be a small town, but Aztec is seeing a big boom in tourism.
"In 2012 we were up about 13 percent from the previous year in tourism. This year so far we're up 20 percent," said Chris Duthie, Tourism and Marketing Supervisor
The city says not only are their year-round destinations gaining popularity, but a lot more people are coming to the annual celebrations and festivals.
"Things like Boots and Brews, Blues and Brews, the Highland Games and Celtic Festival," Duthie said.
Their number one tourism site is the Aztec Ruins, the site that used to be home to the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians.
Park ranger Lauren Blacik says visitors come from all over the world.
She thinks the monument is so popular because of its rich and mysterious history
"It was probably a big public center of religion maybe trade maybe politics," Blacik said.
And with the boost in tourism comes new businesses.
Microtel is the first major hotel chain built in the city.
The city hopes to keep up the momentum and get their visitors to stay a little longer.
"Stay for two or three days and enjoy the whole area, as opposed to driving through and just staying one day," said Duthie.
The city has adjusted visiting hours to accommodate more people. There are also new updates on their website to help tourists. Visit their website at www.aztecnm.com.