ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Officials with Balloon Fiesta held a news conference on Monday. Officials said they’re expecting a huge turnout, with advanced ticket sales comparable to what they saw in 2019. Some hotels say they’re going to be packed. All those out-of-town visitors spend hundreds of dollars a day, something hotels, restaurants and shops throughout Albuquerque sorely missed last year.

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“Get their word out again because I think so many businesses were close to closing or whatnot and so now they’re really going to thrive,” said Skye West who works at Dancing Crow in Old Town.

Some Old Town businesses say there’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout the pandemic with some even closing down permanently. However, those who made it through the dog days of the pandemic are thrilled with the return of Balloon Fiesta after last year’s cancellation. Businesses said Balloon Fiesta is easily their busiest time of year and hope this year will be bigger than ever.

Meanwhile, hotels throughout Albuquerque are already having to turn people away. The managing director at the Hotel Parq Central said his hotel is almost fully booked and expects it to be a record-breaking Balloon Fiesta for his business. 

“2019 was a good year, it was one of the best years we have had but this year I think it’s even better because people have been wanting to get out, wanting to come to see what the Balloon Fiestas all about so we got a lot of new business coming into town and we’re excited to be here and hosting who we have,” said Yancy Sturgeon, the managing director, at Hotel Parq Central.  

Officials with Hotel Albuquerque and Hotel Chaco said they’re already fully booked for the fiesta. However, staff with these hotels said there could be some cancellations throughout the week. So some people might get lucky and land a room. Businesses and hotels say they’re still short-staffed, so they want to remind customers to be patient with employees.