Tourism industry hopes for a jolt as COVID-19 restrictions ease

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The tourism industry in New Mexico in New Mexico took a hit during the pandemic, but there is optimism as the state vaccinates more people and cases drop.

"It’s headed in the right direction for the industry," Tania Armenta, president of Visit Albuquerque.

Armenta works with the city to attract tourists. She said recent changes to the public health order allows them to look toward the future.

"Lifting the mandatory quarantine certainly a very positive movement, moving into yellow in Bernalillo County," she said. "Working now towards that Turquoise level does signal that we have that we have that continued strategy for reopening and recovery.”

In 2020, the New Mexico State Fair and the Balloon Fiesta were canceled due to the pandemic, and the city saw a big a drop in visitors.

Armenta said the lack of tourism had a negative impact on the economy.

"We had 10 years of job growth in the hospitality industry, and 2020 wiped out those 10 years of job growth," she said.

Armenta says she’s working with the city to increase advertising to remind people that Albuquerque is reopening.

"Social media, digital marketing to inspire leisure travelers because we know how important this is going to be for our economy and our recovery and as travelers get more comfortable we will gradually increase that overall marketing on behalf of the city," Armenta said.