ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (July 29, 2015) - The Visit Albuquerque (Visit Albuquerque) is proud to announce the highlights of its most recent fiscal year. From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, Visit Albuquerque's efforts in stimulating Albuquerque's economy through marketing the city as a visitor and convention destination resulted in some of the highest bookings Visit Albuquerque has experienced in years.

"Tourism and conventions are critical to our economy. That's why we are pleased to report we've just completed a very strong year with the highest convention center meetings bookings in the past eight years and the most citywide meetings and conventions booked into the center in seven years," said Dale Lockett, President/CEO of the Visit Albuquerque.

Visit Albuquerque's sales staff facilitated over 223,000 room nights booked into the city for future years, including the highest overall convention center meetings and convention room nights booked in eight years. These total bookings account for an estimated $103 million in direct spending for the city of Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Convention Center recently completed a $23 million renovation, which has played a vital role in the increase of bookings. The renovated center reflects Albuquerque's unique culture, blends with the city's assets and helps meeting planners view Albuquerque as a "must-see" convention destination. Over 44,000 future room nights were booked for the convention center for meetings and conventions during FY15, bringing an estimated $27 million in direct spending to Albuquerque, which also includes the most citywide meetings and conventions booked into the center in seven years. A few of these bookings include:

   • The Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists' 2016 WAVES Convention - 1,000       attendees
   • The Student & Youth Travel Association's 2017 Annual Conference - 1,000 attendees
   • The National Association of Orthopedic Nurses' 2018 Annual Congress - 1,100 attendees
   • The American String Teachers Association's 2019 National Conference - 1,800 attendees
   • The Society for American Archaeology's 2019 Annual Meeting - 2,000 attendees

"This year our team facilitated another strong year of bookings. In addition to the efforts of our hardworking and dedicated staff touting the benefits of the renovated convention center, these bookings were assisted by strong hosting incentives made possible by our partners, the City of Albuquerque, SMG, area hotels and venues and Visit Albuquerque," remarked Rob Enriquez, Visit Albuquerque VP of Convention Sales, Services and Sports.

"Our marketing and sales efforts have ensured that tourism and conventions are very bright spots for Albuquerque right now. Our industry indicators are positive and more people are employed in the hospitality industry than ever before," said Tania Armenta, COO/CMO of Visit Albuquerque.

Lodgers Tax for FY15 is 7 percent ahead of last year and that is on the heels of a 6 percent increase last year, equating to a 13 percent increase in just the last two years. Occupancy, demand and the average daily rate for hotels are all seeing increases as well.

The fiscal year's highlights also include Visit Albuquerque's award-winning Services Department, which, during FY15, helped host the highest number of attendees in 15 years. During FY15, Albuquerque played host to over 319,000 attendees associated with Visit Albuquerque meetings. These meetings generated over $85 million in direct spending this year alone.

In addition to increased bookings, Visit Albuquerque's media relations efforts resulted in more than 1,500 stories about Albuquerque this fiscal year, with articles appearing in Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, Fox News, a