State tourism sees higher numbers

Posted at: 06/14/2013 6:07 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico’s tourist industry is experiencing some ups and downs as springtime heads into summer, but the state does seem to be recovering from the Great Recession.

Visitors at New Mexico state parks were down over Memorial Day weekend by a whopping 40 percent from last year, at just under 315,000 visitors. Low water levels in the lakes, thanks to three straight years of severe drought are to blame.

There are signs elsewhere that the tourist industry is alive and well, Albuquerque’s Old Town, for example.

Old Town was hopping on Friday afternoon tourists are bustling and vendors are hustling it's the vigorous tourist trade in the shops and restaurants.

Barbara Robertson is visiting from Anchorage, Alaska.

“It’s about 190 percent different from Alaska,” she said from a bench outside a shop. “We had a very long winter, so the sunshine and the warmth is what attracts me.”

“I love the culture,” said Bev Clark, visiting from Denver. “I love the Hispanic culture, the Native American culture, and all of the different kinds of scenery.”

There’s more hotel and motel receipts are up, hiring is up in the leisure and hospitality trades, visits to state visitor centers are up too. Then there’s the Internet. Visits to the state Tourism Department’s website are up. The same is true for the Facebook page. You never know if that’s going to pay off with real live flesh-and-blood tourists coming here to have fun and spend money, but it sure can’t hurt!