NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state has a new tool to track the pandemic’s economic impact on tourism. The Tourism Department is launching a new injury index heat map that examines data like lost revenue, the percentage of short-term rentals compared to hotels, and a counties’ reliance on visitor spending. Each county will receive a score based on those metrics. A high score indicates a county has s slower timelines for recovery. Right now, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Eddy, Soccorro, McKinley, Guadalupe, and Quay counties have the slowest.
“The numbers in this data dashboard and the findings from the Tourism Injury Index demonstrate how imperative it is that we invest in tourism recovery that supports every part of our state right now,” Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said in a news release. “The $25 million special appropriation is a targeted investment in tourism recovery that will keep New Mexico competitive and will help kickstart our economy when we can begin to promote travel again.”
According to a news release, the data dashboard provides a weekly snapshot of occupancy rates and travel spending and a monthly snapshot of unemployment of the leisure and hospitality sector. It also offers a breakdown of year-over-year changes to tourism revenue and unemployment rates by county.
NMTD says it estimates a loss of $3.15 billion in visitor spending for 2020, which includes a loss of $163 million in state and local tax revenue, and an estimated 20,000 employees from the leisure and hospitality industry are out of work due to the pandemic.
Lastly, the Executive Budget Recommendation for the fiscal year 2022 includes a special appropriation of $25 million for tourism recovery. The proposed special appropriation will help the Tourism Department keep New Mexico competitive with other states when the department is able to re-enter the marketplace and may reduce the anticipated timeline for recovery to three years for the tourism industry according to the same news release.