EcoTourism: Northern New Mexico A Great Place To Discover Entrepreneurial Opportunities

By Julianna Martinez-Barbee
SBDC Director

Ecotourism is economic development that focuses on sustainability and character of a place such as quality of life, respect for the land, people and cultures while maintaining the ecological process.

We are fortunate to still have our natural environment, our enchanted scenery and our traditional way of life. Northern New Mexico is a perfect place to discover new entrepreneurial opportunities focusing on ecotourism and ecoagriculture.  

Ecotourism creates a positive economic impact not only for the rural communities but also for our state, which leads to job creation, increased sales, and no-cost social marketing. When communities support each other’s endeavors in ecotourism everyone benefits.   

Attracting tourism also has positive impacts in the local economy such as food, lodging, art, entertainment and other services. The direct and indirect economic activity enables policy makers to also determine priorities that benefit all. Therefore ecotourism results in collective community benefits supporting our environment, our local community and the visitor.

Ecotourism—Steps to a Sustainable Business:

  • Have knowledge about the business and be willing to continue to learn.
  • Must have passion, vision, determination, drive, and willing to work.
  • Utilize the services of your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
  • Partner with local,regional,government and non-governmental organizations.
  • Be prepared by having a business plan to start.
  • Have an expansion plan for growth and a succession plan.
  • Build upon local resources to support sustainable ecotourism.
  • Educate other businesses of the benefits to all and support the local economy.
  • Deliver memorable, explanatory and innovative experiences to visitors.
  • Reach out to other experts in all areas of development and best practices.
  • Learn about the region, culture and other eco journeys and market them.
  • Knowledge of the social, economic and environmental needs of the area.
  • Hire staff that has experience and passion in the specific areas of development.
  • Integrate business skills into ecotourism overall operation.
  • Know your market segments, and target your market.
  • Identify potential products, services, and innovative festivals for future growth.
  • Utilize social media to canvas a large audience specifically a YouTube video.
  • Familiarize yourself with local and state regulations.
  • Develop staff training to ensure key messages and service is delivered.
  • Monitor visitor impacts by collecting testimonials and surveying experience.