Organization illustrates how Meetings Mean Business in Albuquerque; recognizes group of local Meeting Heroes who will collectively bring an estimated $4 million in estimated direct spend to the city


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – (April 4, 2019) – In conjunction with Global Meetings Industry Day (#GMID19), Visit Albuquerque, along with several local industry partner organizations, celebrated the impact meetings and events have on the Albuquerque community at its April 2019 Quarterly Meeting held this afternoon at the Albuquerque Convention Center. 


“Travel and tourism continues to be a very bright spot for Albuquerque and is one of the city’s most effective economic development strategies,” said Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “Today we celebrated a vitally important sector of the industry—meetings and events—along with our partners across the globe. Visit Albuquerque alone hosts more than 350 meetings and events each year, which bring an estimated $90 million in direct spend to the city. Bottom line—meetings mean business in Albuquerque!”


As one of the city’s largest private industries, tourism generates over $2 billion annually and employs over 44,000 people in Albuquerque—the highest employment ever for the industry. 


During the meeting, Visit Albuquerque President & CEO Tania Armenta and Board of Directors Chair Jim Gay, along with Kristin McGrath, Visit Albuquerque Vice President of Sales, Services and Sports, presented on a variety of organizational updates and accomplishments and touted impressive industry statistics, including data from STR (formerly known as Smith Travel Research), which illustrate the impact and continuing growth of meetings and events in Albuquerque, including:

  • Hotel performance indicators have seen consistent increases. Within the last seven years (2012-2018), occupancy has increased by 10.6 percent.
  • Through the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 (July through December of 2018), lodgers' tax is showing a 7.9 percent overall increase.   


2019 is off to a very strong start in regards to meetings and events booked by Visit Albuquerque. Through March, the city has welcomed a variety of groups, including the American Booksellers Association, the American String Teachers Association, Sun Country Regional Volleyball Championships, Center for Action and Contemplation, GoMACTech, the World Clown Association, and many others.


“Albuquerque has already welcomed some very significant events and conventions this year,” said Kristin McGrath. “These groups illustrate the diverse client base our city attracts: national associations, sporting events, industry-driven tradeshows and religious groups. The really great news is that this early momentum sets the pace for things to continue moving in a positive direction for the rest of the year.”


On the horizon is the Society of American Archeology in April, which currently has an estimated attendance of 5,000 when the original expected attendance at time of booking was 2,000, and in June, Albuquerque will welcome our largest group of the year, the National Senior Games presented by Humana.


Visit Albuquerque was joined by representatives from the New Mexico Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association, the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the Albuquerque Convention Center to support the fourth annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) by sharing the power that meetings have in Albuquerque. GMID, led by the industry advocacy coalitionMeetings Mean Business (MMB), brings together organizations across six continents to celebrate the meeting industry's enduring business value and its $2.53 trillion in global economic impact.


Visit Albuquerque’s Quarterly Meeting centered on recognizing 2019 Meeting Heroes, a group of local residents that encouraged the personal and professional associations or organizations to which they belong to bring their meeting or convention to Albuquerque. Collectively, the group of 14 Meeting Heroes will bring an estimated $4 million in direct spend to the Albuquerque economy. 2019 Meeting Heroes include:

  • Gabrielle Uballez and Dr. Shelle Sanchez – CULTURE/SHIFT 2018
    • Nov. 1-3, 2018
    • Estimated direct spend - $214,408
  • Sherri Brueggemann and Dr. Shelle Sanchez – 2019 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit
    • Feb. 7-9, 2019
    • Estimated direct spend - $76,766
  • Liz Fernandez – 2019 USA BMX Spring Nationals
    • March 15-17, 2019
    • Estimated direct spend - $1,119,000
  • Michelle Melendez – Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) 2019 Membership Meeting
    • April 15-18, 2019
    • Estimated direct spend - $377,983
  • District Attorney Raul Torrez – 2019 IDP Conference
    • April 29-30, 2019
    • Estimated direct spend - $45,663
  • James Quick, Bill Lutz, Joe Sholtis and Dana Lehner – 53rd Annual Pacific Coast Amateur Championship
    • July 23-26, 2019
    • Estimated direct spend - $125,316
  • Dr. Monica Kowal
    • Imagining America’s 20th Anniversary Gathering
      • Oct. 18-20, 2019
      • Estimated direct spend - $185,976
    • International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement 2019 Annual Conference
      • Oct. 21-26, 2019
      • Estimated direct spend - $250,484
  • Steve Hiatt – Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals 2020 Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace
    • Feb. 20-27, 2020
    • Estimated direct spend - $485,374
  • Dr. Nicole Tami and Pablo Torres – International Association for College Admission Counseling 2020 Annual Convention
    • July 12-17, 2020
    • Estimated direct spend - $1,062,205


Aligning with National Volunteer Appreciation Month, the meeting program included recognizing Visit Albuquerque volunteers—a base of over 90 individuals serving at the organization’s Visitor Information Centers, trade conferences and local events. Two long-standing volunteers were highlighted during the program: Judy Koscovich for 22 years and Ruben Castillo for 18 years.


Nearly 300 attendees listened to remarks from Visit Albuquerque leadership, City of Albuquerque leadership and community partners. The speakers reiterated what the meetings industry means for Albuquerque and thanked attendees for their collective work to move our industry forward and make Albuquerque even stronger.


About Visit Albuquerque

The mission of Visit Albuquerque is to stimulate economic growth by marketing Albuquerque as a visitor and convention destination. For more information, go to