NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state is receiving nearly $8 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in an effort to accelerate recovery to tourism and travel. The New Mexico Tourism Department reports that the state is one of 34 states to receive an American Rescue Plan State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grant from EDA.
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The grant will provide assistance with marketing, infrastructure, workforce, and other revitalization projects for the state’s tourism industry. The Tourism Department states in a news release that while workforce shortages continue to be an issue for some businesses, employment metrics indicate continued restoration of the state’s workforce.
The department reports the state’s change in leisure and hospitality employment for Sept. 2021 compared to Sept. 2019 was down to -8.2% which is the closes the gap in employment has come to pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, the department state the leisure and hospitality industry was the second-fastest-growing industry in New Mexico from 2009 to 2019.
Overall, the New Mexico Tourism Department estimates a $4.1 billion loss in visitor spending for the state due to the pandemic. For Fiscal Year 2023, NMTD is requesting a $53.9 million budget in an effort to expand programs and drive demand through year-round advertising.
The department states that it is also requesting a $15 million supplemental appropriation for Fiscal Year 2022 to increase seasonal marketing campaigns and aid department efforts to match funds for more grant opportunities.