NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Tourism is big in the Land of Enchantment, and now some travel-related organizations are getting a major economic boost from the New Mexico Tourism Department. From the Balloon Fiesta to riding the Sandia Tram, there are many major attractions here in the Duke City.

Ceela Mcelveny is the Vice President of Visit Albuquerque and said the city has been awarded more than $500,000 from the New Mexico Tourism Department as part of its Cooperative Marketing Grant Program.

“We are using the Cooperative Marketing Grant money for social media advertising and YouTube video ads to attract travelers from Dallas, El Paso, Austin, Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix,” says Mcelveny.

Visit Albuquerque’s new ads will start to appear in those cities starting on September 1. The YouTube video will highlight a new bicycling tour that will showcase murals in downtown.

“It’s a mural tour, an art tour of downtown. So there’s over 150 pieces of art that you can see on this particular tour, and the 15-second spot highlights all of the fantastic artwork and murals,” says Mcelveny.

She says this is the third year they have received this type of grant and have already seen the impact it has had in recent years. “Well, tourism is a significant economic driver in Albuquerque. More than six million people visit on average each year. It has a $2 billion economic impact on the city, and it supports 44,000 jobs.”

Places like the Santa Fe Children’s Museum were awarded $18,000; they will be using their share of the grant money for advertising in the USA Today Go Escape Southwest magazine.

“Organizations like the Children’s Museum and others may not have funds in something like USA Today, which can be very expensive. But with the Tourism Department’s help, we can jump in it together,” says Hannah Hausman, Santa Fe Children’s Museum Executive Director. “Hopefully, we’ll have some people in Texas and Arizona checking out the Children’s Museum and wanting to come for a visit.”

Museum officials have already been meeting with the tourism department, and soon their ads will be showcased in surrounding states. Many businesses are hoping this advertising will help them get back to “normal” and recover business after the pandemic.

More than $3 million is being distributed between 41 tourism marketing campaigns. Tribal and Indigenous organizations are also receiving more than $100,000 from the New Mexico Tourism Department grant program.