New Mexico Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Rebecca Latham was the featured speaker at the Chamber Business Breakfast Wednesday at UNM-Los Alamos.
Latham took over the post in January. She was formerly the public information officer for the Tourism Department.
Latham explained that she and her team will be in Los Alamos June 11-12 to work with businesses, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and County staff to help grow tourism in Los Alamos County.
The Tourism Department’s flagship marketing campaign, New Mexico True, is a coordinated effort to promote tourism in New Mexico.
“We can provide a unique experience that you cannot have anywhere else,” Latham said. “We offer adventure that feeds the soul.”
Los Alamos fits the bill, she said, because of the town’s unique history and connection to the Manhattan project.
“Los Alamos has a big piece of culture that no one else has,” she said.
Tourism raised $1.3 billion tourism dollars that were spent in New Mexico last year, Latham said, generating $600 million in taxes for an average tax savings of $800 a year for each taxpayer.
Northern New Mexico generated 22 percent of that revenue, although only 13.7 percent of the state’s population live there.
The New Mexico True campaign emphasizes “site doing rather than site seeing,” Latham said, adding that while other campaigns have stressed scenery, the new campaign stresses people doing things. The ads have produced a 3-1 rate of return on the advertising investment.
The state has a two-pronged strategy, one targeting in-state residents and the other outside tourists. For New Mexicans, state pride is emphasized. For outside visitors, the uniqueness and opportunities for adventure are stressed. To get past the idea that New Mexico is an arid desert, the campaign shoots streams, forests, farms and other features.
Ad campaigns include airport dioramas that have been praised for their beauty, Latham said. TV commercials, print ads, online ads and special 30 second videos for the web, as well as the program New Mexico True Television are part of the marketing campaign.
“We see ourselves as a tourism generating agency,” Latham said.
The agency has the goal of helping communities build tourism and benefit from it, she said. Visit New Mexico True online at /www.newmexico.org/.