New Mexico's tourism industry hurting due to COVID-19 pandemic | KOB 4

New Mexico's tourism industry hurting due to COVID-19 pandemic

Steve Soliz
Created: May 11, 2020 05:40 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-  New Mexico's tourism industry has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KOB 4's Steve Soliz Spoke with New Mexico Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Jen Schroer to talk about the future of tourism in the state.

"It is the second largest industry of our state and it drives her economy. It is second only to oil and gas so when you talk about an industry that came to a halt because of COVID-19, it is severely impacting the entire state, not just tourist towns that we think of, like Red River or Ruidoso. This is something that's impacting our entire state. Our hotel occupancy rate is hovering just around 24%. Usually this time of year, we're looking at 75% to 80% occupancy in our hotels," Schroer said. 

Q: Flying through the majority of airports in this country and you see ads for New Mexico. Are we still getting the word out for people to come to New Mexico or are we taking our time to getting the word out this year?

A: So our advertising - the purpose of that is to build brand awareness and to invite people to come experience adventures deep in culture. We have some of the most beautiful assets to experience here in New Mexico. But right now is not the right time to come visit and so as stewards of public funds, we decided to pause our national campaign while we went through this time so that way when we do have those public health orders lifted, and it is an appropriate time to invite people back to New Mexico, then we'll start our campaign once again.

Q: I don't know if I want to leave New Mexico this summer. Do you feel like a lot of people may have the same sentiment and just try to staycation this summer?

A: A lot of the research that we are seeing right now is that people will want to travel less than 200 miles from their home and for the primary purpose of visiting friends and family. International travel is the last to pick up, next to cruises - given some of the stories that came out of the media and some of the fear that's around that. So, New Mexico, being a destination that is great for a drive market, once it's an appropriate time to invite tourists back to Mexico - absolutely, I believe that our tourism industry can rebound.

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