“Tourism plays a vital role in diversifying our state’s economy,” Martinez said. “More people visiting New Mexico means more dollars going into our communities – and that means more jobs and better opportunities for our families.”
The three largest sectors for visitor spending in 2016 were lodging at 31 percent, food and beverage at 23 percent, and retail at 17 percent. On average, each visitor spent $183.50 per trip with leisure travel still the primary reason for travel in New Mexico. Roughly 650,000 international trips were taken in the Land of Enchantment in 2016, a slight decrease from 2015 due to a national trend of fewer Canadians traveling to the U.S. Trips originating in Mexico increased 0.5 percent, while overseas trips grew 4.9 percent.
Additionally, visitor spending in 2016 generated $642 million in state and local taxes. Direct visitor spending offset the household tax burden in New Mexico by $841, compared to $826.50 the year before. Since 2010, direct visitor spending in New Mexico has grown by $1.2 billion, with associated job growth increasing by more than 5800. In 2016 visitor spending sustained nearly 92,000 New Mexican jobs, or 1 in 12, more than the population of Santa Fe and Taos combined.
“I am thrilled to see the positive trend of record-breaking economic impact continuing in our beautiful state,” Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said. “Tourism is an industry worth investing in. Every dollar spent on New Mexico True advertising delivers $7 back to the tax base and offsets the household tax burden for hard working New Mexican families. New Mexico True makes an impact in small and large communities around the state – each and every dollar spent contributes to a better quality of life for all New Mexicans.”
From 2015 to 2016, Otero County saw the largest jump in visitor spending with a 5.1 percent increase, followed by Colfax County at 5 percent. Bernalillo County saw a 3.5 percent increase, claiming $2.1 billion of the $6.4 billion statewide. In 2016 visitor spending supported 32,000 jobs in Bernalillo County, contributing $956 million in labor income.
This is the latest in a series of record-breaking tourism announcements since the New Mexico True brand launched in 2012. Earlier this summer, Governor Martinez announced a fifth straight year of record-breaking tourism growth, with one million more trips in New Mexico in 2016 than in 2015, bringing the total number for the year to 34.4 million.
Tourism is a key economic driver in New Mexico, leading job growth since 2010.