New Mexico is Losing an average of $403 Million in visitor spending per month

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New Mexico among the 10 states and jurisdictions with the largest year over year decline in TSA Checkpoint Volume. Down 78%

Even as hotels and businesses adopt COVID-safe practices, the Tourism Department says the mandatory 14-day quarantine hurts visitor dollars coming in.

According to Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer, with the state’s Tourism Department, New Mexico’s tourism industry is losing billions of dollars in visitor spending.

The Cabinet Secretary information was part of a presentation to the New Mexico Legislative Interim Economic & Rural Development Committee this week

In an overview of the industry she pointed out that after a record-breaking year for tourism in 2019, New Mexico started 2020 on a good path to bring visitors and dollars into the state. Since COVID-19 and the resulting public health orders caused many businesses to close, it’s now one of the industries hit the hardest.

“When COVID hit, our whole industry came to a screeching halt,” said Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer, with the state’s Tourism Department. “We have seen a drastic decline in our visitor spending which brings new wealth into our economy.”

The charts she presented indicated that the state is losing an average of $403 million in visitor spending each month, resulting in around $2 billion lost between March and July. “It’s a number likely to grow as the state prepares for the loss of a 2020 Balloon Fiesta.”

“We don’t have people staying in our hotels,” said Schroer. “We don’t have people coming to our museums or restaurants.”

Even as hotels and businesses adopt COVID-safe practices, the Tourism Department says the mandatory 14-day quarantine hurts visitor dollars coming in. However, until an amendment to the quarantine is announced, they want to take things day-by-day and remain safe.

The Secretary defended the orders saying “That it has been a deterrent, it definitely was necessary. You can see that was a tactic that a lot of the public health officials implemented,” said Schroer. “They’re really taking a deep look at the implications of that 14-day quarantine to make sure that we’re not introducing too much risk.”

New Mexico among the 10 states and jurisdictions with the largest year over year decline in TSA Checkpoint Volume. Down 78%

Still, Schroer says she remains hopeful New Mexico’s tourism — including national parks, Balloon Fiesta, conventions and more — will bounce back. The Tourism Department says it will take time though. It could take up to six or seven years for the state’s tourism economy to fully recover.

“As we look toward the next fiscal year, we keep the tourism department’s budget in tact. Right now is not the time to cut,” said Schroer. “We are going to rebound from this pandemic. I’m not saying it’s not going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard.”

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