County: Community Vision For Tourism Public Forum

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County residents are invited to attend and give input at a Community Vision for Tourism Public Forum 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 in Fuller Lodge.

The presentation begins at 6:10 p.m. with community input provided via keypad polling devices with instant results.

Purpose: Community members will learn about the Tourism Strategic Plan input direction received to date and the focus areas and goals derived from this input. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback and ideas for the action items by visiting four separate stations. Each station will be based on one of the focus areas. This will be the final public meeting prior to the plan adoption process.

Four Focus Areas:

  • Create & Market an Inviting Community & Welcoming Setting;
  • Increase the Capture of Visitor Dollars;
  • Enrich Our Natural Beauty, Attractions & Downtown to Make Us a Destination of Choice; and
  • Operate with Intentional Leadership, Public & Private Investment & Partnerships.

Background:

Recent events have redirected Los Alamos County’s focus on the tourism industry as an economic driver. The shift began with the economic recession when LANL’s workforce reductions resulted in a significant decrease in gross receipts tax. By 2013, cut-backs in Lab contracting took their toll on Lodgers’ Tax Revenues which hit an all-time low, compounded by the loss of hotel rooms with the temporary closure of two lodging establishments. Since then, the New Mexico Tourism Department successfully launched the New Mexico True brand. 

Since that launch in 2012, total visitation to the state has increased by 1.45 million (from 32.55 million to 34 million) and visitor spending increased from $5.7 billion to $6.3 billon; thus providing proof that the tourism industry is a growing and sustainable contributor to the State’s economy. Lift and lodge operations at Pajarito Mountain were turned over to a private company in 2014, bringing snowmaking and other improvements to extend operations and profitability during the winter. In 2015, Los Alamos was designated a New Mexico True destination and regularly hosts the governor, the tourism secretary and the tourism commission at several events each year.

Also, in 2015, Los Alamos became the gateway to three National Parks, adding the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park site to Bandelier National Monument—all within a 5- to 30-minute drive from downtown Los Alamos. Throughout the better part of the last decade, visitation to Los Alamos’ tourism attraction has grown 6% and Lodgers’ Tax Revenues have increased 13 percent. In order to sustain and manage the growth of our tourism economy, we need a strategic, collaborative plan closely linked to our economic development initiatives and goals that considers all tourism assets, marketing efforts and impacts.

The Los Alamos County Tourism Strategic Plan will help unify ongoing tourism efforts, and position the County to optimize tourism economic development for the benefit of the community. The plan will guide and provide direction to the County and partners when making decisions relating to tourism, community investment, cultural opportunities and physical development.  This initiative is intended to benefit both community residents and tourists.

The project initiated in May of 2017 and includes a 20 person Tourism Work Group to advise the County Council and County planners. A Sept. 6 public meeting, online survey and Focus Group meetings will inform the plan anticipated for adoption by Council December 2017.

For more information on the Tourism Strategic Plan Project, visit www.losalamostourismplan.com or contact Assistant to County Manager Linda Matteson at linda.matteson@lacnm.us.

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