Organization unveils Locals’ Guide to Albuquerque; touts impressive industry statistics

During its December 2018 Quarterly Meeting held yesterday afternoon at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, Visit Albuquerque celebrated another strong year of marketing Albuquerque as a visitor, convention and sports destination, and looked toward the future with the city's largest gathering of tourism industry professionals and special guests, including several City of Albuquerque directors that served on a panel discussion as part of the meeting program.

“Travel and tourism is big business for Albuquerque, and continues to be a very bright spot for the city,” said Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “The successes and data highlighted today underline what a vital economic engine travel and tourism is for Albuquerque, and we look forward to working together to build on this positive momentum as we move into the new year.”

Visit Albuquerque President & CEO Tania Armenta and Board of Directors Chair Jim Gay presented on a variety of past accomplishments and upcoming organizational initiatives, including the debut of the Local’s Guide to Albuquerque.

As millennial travel continues to increase, the industry is seeing a growing trend in the desire of travelers to experience the destinations they visit as if they were a local. They want the inside track on what to do in the destination from the perspective of the passionate individuals who live and work there. Therefore, Visit Albuquerque is excited to announce the launch of the Locals’ Guide to Albuquerque on our website at The digital guide features photos, videos, stories, and recommendations—all from the perspective of notable locals in our community. Beginning this week, Visit Albuquerque is dedicating every Thursday to highlighting different aspects of our Locals’ Guide on social media with the hashtag #ABQLocalsGuide—from our neighborhoods and attractions to our unique locals and greatest assets, and more.

Early in 2019, Visit Albuquerque looks forward to launching a new, personalized, interactive trip-planning solution that creates a custom itinerary for each user based off of information such as interests, seasons, trip length, budget and preferences. Once built, these itineraries can be saved and shared via social media and email.

Armenta and Gay touted the overall success of the travel and tourism industry in Albuquerque, as well as its role as a vital economic engine for the city. As one of the largest private industries in the city, the tourism industry in Albuquerque:

  • generates more than $2 billion annually

  • employs over 43,000 people—the highest employment ever for the industry

  • brings approximately 6.2 million visitors to the city each year, which generates about

    $69 million in local taxes/new money to the community

    The program reported increases in hotel performance, lodgers’ tax collections and increases in total room nights and estimated direct spend for business occurring.

  • Hotel occupancy is up 3.6 percent and average daily rate increased 2.7 percent calendar year-to-date through October 2018, according to STR (formerly known as Smith Travel Research).

  • As reported at the organization’s Annual Meeting held in August, fiscal year 2018 ended with a 7.3 percent increase in lodgers’ tax, which includes the new Airbnb collections that began in November 2017. Without the Airbnb collections, lodgers’ tax was still up 5.3 percent for FY18. Currently, fiscal year 2019 (which began July 1) is showing a 10.8 percent increase over FY18 for the first quarter. This percentage does include Airbnb data, which was not collected during the first quarter of FY18. However, even without the Airbnb collections, lodgers’ tax is up 7.3 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

• Visit Albuquerque reported a strong outlook for 2019 meetings and conventions. The organization is currently slated to host the same number of citywide groups in 2019 as in the year prior, but with more room nights, higher attendance and greater direct spend associated with these groups—and the opportunity to book additional meetings and conventions in the coming year (link to PDFs containing citywide conventions and high-profile bookings for 2019 is included at the top of the release). Overall destination-wide bookings for 2019 total 113 groups with a 31 percent increase in total room nights and a 73 percent increase in estimated direct spend year-over-year (calendar year to-date).

In regards to passenger traffic at the Albuquerque International Sunport, there has been a 12.1 percent increase of all passengers January through October year-over-year (calendar year to-date).

Nearly 400 attendees listened to remarks from Visit Albuquerque leadership, and heard from City of Albuquerque directors (Nyika Allen, Director of Aviation; David Campbell, Director of Planning; Synthia Jaramillo, Director of Economic Development; Dr. Shelle Sanchez, Director of Cultural Services; and David Simon, Director of Parks & Recreation) who spoke during a panel. The speakers noted the importance of tourism to the city's economy, talked about ways the audience can become more involved with City initiatives, and provided updates on the variety of developments currently underway and on the horizon.

Armenta and Gay closed by saying that this is an exciting time for the industry and the organization, and Visit Albuquerque is looking forward to building on this positive momentum to create a bright and successful 2019.

About Visit Albuquerque

The mission of Visit Albuquerque is to stimulate economic growth by marketing Albuquerque as a visitor and convention destination.