Albuquerque expected to see more travelers for Balloon Fiesta this year

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque International Sunport reps say they’re expecting 30% more travelers this year compared to last year’s Balloon Fiesta.  And, if you look to book a hotel you’ll see prices are also soaring. 

Year 51 of Balloon Fiesta will bring two shows in the sky, and Albuquerque will have a front row seat to both. 

“Based on our historical averages and talking to our partners right now, we expect a really strong Balloon Fiesta, and the interest in the annular eclipse only adds to that,” said Visit ABQ President Tania Armenta.  

Hundreds of balloons plus an annular eclipse on Oct. 14 equals a whole lot more visitors. 

Online travel agency Opodo revealed searches for domestic flights to Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta are 115% higher than last year. 

Sunport officials say airlines are taking note, offering 100,000 more seats for the month of October than September. 

“The airlines they see the need for additional capacity, and they’ve responded very well this year,” said Daniel Jiron, a Sunport spokesperson.

Airlines are adding Albuquerque flights every day over the two-week period. United is adding two new destinations. 

“They’re adding Newark and Washington Dulles, so there will be 11 roundtrips between those two cities and Albuquerque,” said Jiron.  

Soaring hotel prices also speak to the demand. If you want to stay near Sawmill during the weekend of the eclipse it’s going to cost you about $700 per night at Hotel Chaco. 

Hotel Albuquerque is completely booked that same weekend. 

Also, that weekend, La Quinta Inn near the Sunport will run you about $390 per night, compared to the weekend after Balloon Fiesta which is $94. 

In the Northeast Heights the SureStay Hotel is $400 a night that weekend. About $340 more than if you booked a week later. 

“There is an additional demand for hotel rooms, but there has been inventory added to the Albuquerque market and the surrounding region. There’s also short term rentals, so there are more options for people. There is still availability, encouraging people to get online to take a look,” said Armenta. 

KOB 4 also asked the Sunport if they’re ready for the spike in visitors with all the construction they have going on. 

While people may have to maneuver around some “pardon my dust” signs the construction shouldn’t impact wait times.