ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thousands of dollars are up for grabs as part of a new tourism initiative. The goal of Visit Albuquerque’s new grant program is to help locals build their businesses while also adding more excitement and revenue to the area.

“To have a grant that’s available to us that we can then turn around and pour back into our community is super exciting,” said Co-Owner of New Nuevo, Arlene Espinoza-Armijo.

New Nuevo, a company giving local businesses the space to sell their products, plans on applying to Visit Albuquerque’s new Tourism Grant Program. Through the pilot program, Visit Albuquerque expects to give out $250,000 total to chosen winners.

Businesses can get up to $50,000 to create new experiences to boost tourism. New Nuevo mentioned if they get some of the money, they plan to disperse it among the local companies they work with.

“The grant, in and of itself, if received, would not only allow us to do more but allow us to do more with the people in New Mexico that we collaborate with and in doing, so would create more opportunity for everybody across the board,” said Espinoza-Armijo.

Applicants must be located in the state and registered as a for-profit or non-profit. However, preference will be given to projects in Albuquerque. Visit Albuquerque is looking for applicants who highlight New Mexico’s vibrant culture. That could include showcasing local food and art.

“I would use a couple of keywords: is it new? Is it innovative? Does it have the ability to be transformative for Albuquerque’s tourism economy,” said Visit Albuquerque President Tania Armenta.

Applicants have to show how they would build community, benefit tourism, and create new tourist experiences.

“What we’re looking to do is really incremental gains to bring more visitors, more tourism, and revenue to the city,” added Armenta. “The benefit of that is it creates a better Albuquerque. It equates to a quality of life for our residents.”

According to Visit Albuquerque, each year tourism brings in $2 billion to the city and supports about 43,000 jobs. The grant program is made possible thanks to a unanimous vote by city council last year to establish an Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District.

Applications are open until April 28. Awardees will be announced on June 1.