MADRID, N.M. (KRQE) – After nearly two years of hits to their tourism economy, the Village of Madrid says they’re finally beginning to bounce back, thanks to the help of some longtime holiday traditions. Most years, Madrid twinkles with lights and tinsel through the holidays.
“With the Christmas lights,” tourist Erika Garcia told KRQE back in 2018. “Everybody is so happy in this little town.”
In 2020, the pandemic and quarantine requirements kept visitors away. That not only cut out big bucks for their economy but also put a damper on a longstanding Christmas tradition.
“We have very little tourists,” Harvey Shugarman, a local shop owner, told KRQE in 2020. “We didn’t do the Christmas parade.”
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Now, the tiny village that sits along the Turquoise Trail on Highway 14 is seeing its tourist economy bounce back. It’s thanks, in large part, to summer travel returning and big events like Balloon Fiesta.
“We’ve been hit pretty hard, especially 2020, obviously,” said Ruth Abor. “Tourism, in general, rebounded, pretty much since the beginning of the summer season.”
Abor owns the Mostly Madrid shop in the village. She says they’re seeing more people than ever from the two major cities it sits between. “We’re also seeing a lot more visitors, both from Albuquerque and Santa Fe,” said Abor. “It’s wonderful to see people come back, of course.”
Abor says while numbers may not be at those pre-COVID levels just yet, it’s a good sign for the tiny village. This Christmas, they welcomed visitors back. “That’s what the town lives for,” said Abor. “We had the biggest Christmas parade we have ever had.”
As the village moves on from the holidays and prepares for the next wave of summer tourism, Abor is hopeful their economy will only go up from here as more come to visit. “I just hope that people really begin to enjoy themselves again more,” said Abor.
Madrid’s Christmas roots date back to the early 1920s during mining there. Locals hope the tradition continues to grow through the 2020s.