ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - (Nov. 7, 2017) From Oct. 7 - 15, Albuquerque saw nearly 888,000 visitors for the 46th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® presented by Canon. According to Balloon Fiesta, this year's event featured 672 registered balloons representing 21 countries, including 93 special shape balloons and eight gas balloons.
Out of town visitation was strong this year as evidenced by hotel indicators. According to data provided by STR, Inc. (formerly known as Smith Travel Research) for the 13-day period surrounding Balloon Fiesta (including two days prior and following the event), hotel demand showed a 4 percent increase, occupancy was up by 3.7 percent, and ADR (average daily rate) increased by 5.4 percent-a significant improvement for the city's hotel industry from last year.
"Albuquerque as a destination is experiencing positive momentum within the tourism and hospitality industry, and the indicators from Balloon Fiesta highlight that continued progress," said Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. "We are very fortunate that the world's premier ballooning event calls Albuquerque home, and we have a dedicated marketing campaign throughout the year to continue attracting visitors to Albuquerque before, during and after Balloon Fiesta. This event is synonymous with the city, and clearly its popularity and appeal among visitors continues to grow."
Several area attractions stated that 2017 was the busiest they had been during Balloon Fiesta in years, illustrated by increases in visitor attendance. For instance, Petroglyph National Monument reported a 39 percent increase in visitation at their visitor centers over last year, and Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway noted an increase of 6 percent.
Visit Albuquerque again launched an integrated marketing campaign this year to help promote the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Advertising efforts generated more than 2.1 million impressions, and along with additional promotion, the campaign drove nearly 65,000 visits to the Balloon Fiesta landing page on VisitABQ.org. For the period leading up to and during Balloon Fiesta, web sessions increased 56 percent over the daily average, and Visit Albuquerque's social media pages gained hundreds of followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Visit Albuquerque looks to secure media coverage of Balloon Fiesta throughout the year, and the organization's media relations efforts helped to secure the below articles, which also assisted in elevating visitor interest in this world-class event:
- "The Best Things to do in October Across the U.S." - Travel + Leisure
- "See fall colors from on high with hot-air balloon rides, zip-line tours and more" - Chicago Tribune
- "Audacious Autumn" - The Associated Press
- "The Best Places to Travel in October," - Time.com
- "The Best Bucket List Adventures in Every State," - The Active Times
To further promote Balloon Fiesta and as a way to celebrate fall in Albuquerque, Visit Albuquerque launched a photo contest that encouraged entrants to submit photos using the hashtag #VisitABQ. This social media campaign saw nearly 3.5 million impressions, with more than 1,300 posts on Instagram and over 300 posts on Twitter using #VisitABQ during the contest period. The contest winner was awarded the grand prize of a hot air balloon ride for two during Fiesta.
The 47th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, with the theme "Get Carried Away," is scheduled for Oct. 6 - 14, 2018.