Each year, millions of people visit the Land of Enchantment to experience the scenery, its famous cuisine, stand-out southwestern art, and historic (oftentimes ancient) landmarks of the Pueblo people and early Mexican settlers. In addition to oil and gas production, tourism is one of the most influential drivers of New Mexico’s economy – bringing in over $6.4 billion dollars. Tourism not only gives a hefty boost to the state’s economy, but it also supported 8.4% of all jobs in the state. So whether it’s leading a tour through the Carlsbad Caverns or keeping visitors safe while they experience river rafting in Santa Fe for the first time, there are many careers to explore in the tourism field. Now you just need to get there.
And that’s possible in part to reliable and affordable energy, which makes traveling through the state an attainable goal for everyone – whether you fly, drive, take the train or a bus. Which is why one of the best ways to support tourism is to support the energy industry. In 2016, New Mexico hit a tourism record with 34.4 million visitors who, on average, each visitor spent $183.50 per trip, meaning more than $6 billion dollars for the state based on tourism alone. Let’s face it, when the cost of gas increases, so does the price of plane tickets, gasoline for road trips, and energy consuming activities like ATV-ing through the desert and hot-air balloon rides. That’s because the first thing people say ‘goodbye’ to when prices go up is their yearly trip to events like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Friendlier energy prices shape the way consumers live. People buy larger cars, they travel, go out to eat, shop, and pay for things they not only need but want. Without affordable energy, all these leisure activities disappear – and people decide to spend their vacations at home – instead of taking the hit on their bank accounts.
So, what can you do to help? When it comes to supporting tourism and the energy industry, there’s a way for everyone to do their part. According to the New Mexico Tourism Department, it’s as easy as posting photos on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter of you or your friends and family having fun in the state! You can also write a blog, just like this one, talking about all of the fun things to do in New Mexico. People love hearing from the locals about the best things to do on their trip. State residents always know the best coffee shops or ‘hidden gem’ restaurants that Trip Advisor may not. It’s an easy way to promote your community and make it a travel destination for people around the globe, but you can do it for yourself without any effort just by supporting the energy industry to keep prices low and sustain small businesses in our state that depend on tourism.
The time to act is now if we want to ensure a bright and vibrant future for New Mexico. Support the growth of your community by supporting energy and tourism, and honest conversations about how they intertwine.