ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s hardest-hit industry is getting a little boost from the city. Mayor Tim Keller announced Tuesday that he will be putting 1.5 million to kick start the post-COVID recovery for the city’s tourism industry. The funds will be used for marketing and advertising. The goal is to put Albuquerque on the map for the millions of Americans eager to vacation again.

“Albuquerque has stood out from our peers over the last year as one of the best cities to be during the pandemic. Now we want folks to know we’re one of the best places to visit as restrictions ease up,” Mayor Keller said in a news release. “We know how much the tourism industry in Albuquerque has suffered as a result of the pandemic. Helping them get back on their feet will boost the entire local economy and bring jobs for Burqueños back sooner.”

According to the same news release, the cumulative loss of visitor spending is estimated to be $3.5 billion, resulting in a loss of approximately $163 million in state and local taxes. “Mayor Keller’s quick and comprehensive response to COVID-19 put Albuquerque’s strengths and natural assets in the spotlight,” said Economic Development Director Synthia R. Jaramillo in a news release. “As we recover, we’re in a position to infuse growth into the industry, boost tourism, and bring back the jobs and revenue that were lost as a result of the pandemic.”

The city says Mayor Keller has tasked the Lodgers’ Tax Advisory Board with making a plan for administering the funds, which will also benefit tourism partners like the Albuquerque Convention Center, Visit Albuquerque, and the Greater Albuquerque Hotel and Lodging Association (GAHLA).