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Industry Insider

April 2024

It’s officially spring in Albuquerque, and we hope the warmer weather is bringing you success. With summer fast approaching, we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to our city and seeing the positive impact of a busy summer.

We encourage you to take advantage of the many signature events taking place in the city in the coming weeks. From the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow to Albuquerque Isotopes and New Mexico United games, it’s wonderful to see Albuquerque come alive this spring.

In this issue of Industry Insider, you’ll find the application for the next round of our Tourism Grant Program, information on the Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism and a recap of our work at recent trade shows where Visit Albuquerque encouraged travel and business in Albuquerque.

Thank you for being a Visit Albuquerque Partner!


Tourism Grant Applications are Now Open

Applications for the 2024 Tourism Grant Program are now open. The Tourism Grant Program is funded by the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District and managed by Visit Albuquerque. The overarching goal of the program is to spark innovative ideas that contribute to Albuquerque’s vibrancy and build new, creative visitor and resident experiences that grow a more diverse and thriving tourism economy. For more information and to apply, click here. Applications close May 24.


An illustrated image of Albuquerque with Tourism Grant Program logo

Help Spread the Word About Resident and Visitor Surveys

Visit Albuquerque, working in partnership with industry, business and City leaders, is developing a Destination Master Plan for our community. The plan process is being led by the global tourism advisory group of JLL. This 10-year roadmap will strengthen Albuquerque as a thriving destination for leisure travelers, meetings and events while balancing the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. We need your help spreading the word about our resident sentiment and visitor surveys.

The resident sentiment survey can be completed by anyone living in Albuquerque. Please share the survey with anyone who would like to contribute their thoughts and opinions on the future of Albuquerque as a destination.

The visitor sentiment survey can be completed by anyone who has visited Albuquerque or is thinking about visiting Albuquerque. Any Visit Albuquerque Partner who often interacts with travelers can post this sign to inform patrons about the survey and encourage them to complete it.


A graphic showing many Albuquerque places and things with the text "We want to hear from you!"

Visit Albuquerque Attends Travel & Adventure Shows

Over the last two months, Visit Albuquerque staff attended Travel & Adventure shows in Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas. We spoke with thousands of potential leisure travelers, encouraging them to add Albuquerque to their list of travel destinations.

These shows were a collaborative effort with Tourism Santa Fe, Visit Farmington, City of Roswell, Carlsbad, Visit Las Cruces and the Town of Red River.

Two Visit Albuquerque employees stand behind the Visit Albuquerque booth at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure show

Sunport, Visit ABQ and Hispano Chamber Promote Expansion of Air Service to Albuquerque

Visit Albuquerque recently teamed up with the Albuquerque International Sunport and the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce to encourage airlines to include Albuquerque in their plans for future route development. In March, the three organizations attended and exhibited at the Routes Americas Conference in Bogota, Colombia, where they met with network system planners for Avianca, Viva Aerobus, Volaris, AeroMexico, Allegiant, JetBlue, Southwest and other airlines. The team provided information about Albuquerque as a destination for tourism, meetings and business and answered questions about the Sunport renovation project, flight demand and gate capacity. Convenient flights are important to leisure and business travelers alike and key to growing Albuquerque’s appeal as a destination. Eight carriers currently provide service to the Sunport from more than 25 cities. In June, Sun Country Airlines will become the ninth carrier at the Sunport when it adds twice-weekly service between Albuquerque and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Albuquerque team at the Routes America conferenceThe Albuquerque team interacted with hundreds of airport and airline executives at the Routes Americas Conference.

Jason Younis y Delgado, an Albuquerque master tinsmith, demonstrates the art of punched tin for conference attendees.Jason Younis y Delgado, an Albuquerque master tinsmith, demonstrated the art of punched tin for conference attendees.


From March 26-28, several dozen travel writers and meeting planners in the New York City region attended an interactive dining experience that immersed them in the sights, sounds and flavors of Albuquerque. Attendees at each of the two lunches and three dinners were able to interact with motion-tracked images of Albuquerque projected onto their dining table while enjoying a meal prepared by Chef Marc Quiñones of Level 5 at Hotel Chaco. The projections and visuals, designed by Electric Playhouse, highlighted the city's beauty and authenticity and complemented each course of the meal. Throughout the event, Visit Albuquerque staff introduced attendees to the one-of-a-kind attractions, venues, experiences and heritage that make Albuquerque special. The event was designed to inspire travel writers to visit our city and write articles about the destination, and to encourage meeting planners to learn more about hosting a conference, convention or other group event in Albuquerque. A big thanks to our Partners for their support and dedication in making this mission a success!

Attendees experience a Media and Sales Mission in New York City, hosted by Visit Albuquerque.


Visit Albuquerque hosted 12 social media influencers this past weekend for a “meet-up” focused on Route 66 in Albuquerque. The influencers were selected based on the quality of their content, number of followers and follower engagement. All of the attendees were from cities along Route 66, from Los Angeles to St. Louis to Tulsa. Each influencer is responsible for creating a minimum number of reels, stories and posts during and following the trip. While in Albuquerque, they dined, shopped and toured around the Old Town, Downtown and Nob Hill neighborhoods. The goal of the trip was to raise awareness about the Route 66 centennial in 2026 and build excitement among travelers now through the anniversary. The influencer meet-up was conducted in partnership with the New Mexico Tourism Department through its cooperative marketing program, with assistance from Simply Social Media and Visit Albuquerque Partners. We are grateful to our many Partners that helped ensure this group enjoyed their time in Albuquerque!


A group of influencers pose in front of the El Vado Motel sign

Visit Albuquerque Sales Team Attends Trade Shows

Visit Albuquerque Convention Sales Manager Dionne Hulsey recently attended the Destination Celebration in Kansas City. The event included over 100 meeting planners and 30 suppliers. There was a lot of interest in Albuquerque, with the potential for business in 2026 and beyond.

Visit Albuquerque’s Vice President of Sales, Services and Sports Scott Craighead; Mark Mares from Heritage Hotels & Resorts; and Cindy Martinez from Embassy Suites Downtown Albuquerque attended the Meetings Industry Council (MIC) Colorado March 26-27 in Denver. More than 932 meeting professionals from the Rocky Mountain region attended. At the Visit Albuquerque booth, Jesse Sansom with eVRgreen Arts provided attendees with a 360-degree virtual-reality experience of Albuquerque, including a VR ride in a hot air balloon. Visit Albuquerque made many key contacts, including the Education Commission for the States, Conference Direct and American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Visit Albuquerque’s Director of Sales, Services, and Sports Angie Jepsen and Senior Sports Development Manager Angela Gandy attended Connect Spring Marketplace in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2-4. Angie conducted meetings with meeting planners representing associations and Angela met with sports event organizers. Over the three days, Angie and Angela each had 40 appointments. Also representing Albuquerque at Connect Spring Marketplace were Corporate Sales Manager Mark Mares and Senior Sales Manager Kara Woolsey with Heritage Hotels & Resorts.

Visit Albuquerque attended the Business Events Industry Week in Washington, D.C., April 8-11. Vice President of Sales, Services and Sports Scott Craighead participated in the Destinations International Sales and Services Summit, where he attended education sessions and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. He was joined by Heritage Hotels & Resorts National Sales Manager Tecla Tawonezvi for PCMA Showcase where Visit ABQ networked with D.C.-area meetings professionals. Visit ABQ met with dozens of D.C.-based organizations, including the American Society of Microbiology, American Alliance of Museums, American Political Science Association, National Defense Industry Association, National Academy of Engineering and the American Council on Education.

Visit Albuquerque’s interim Mid-Atlantic Sales Manager, consultant Laura Kesselman, CMM, recently participated in Conference Direct’s Annual Partner Meeting in Arlington, Texas, April 7-11. Beginning promptly after the eclipse, Laura connected with more than 30 associates. The gathering served as the yearly sales meeting for over 200 Conference Direct associates tasked with venue sourcing and planning thousands of meetings and events annually. Amidst individual appointments, a significant announcement highlighted Conference Direct's achievements in 2023, including securing $1.1 billion in hotel contracted revenue.

Destination Celebration Kansas City 2024Destination Celebration in Kansas City

MIC Colorado 2024MIC Colorado

Angie Jepsen, Angela Gandy, Mark Mares and Kara Woolsey.Scott Craighead and Tecla Tawonezvi stand in front of Visit Albuquerque's booth at PCMA ShowcasePCMA Showcase

Attendees of Conference Direct’s Annual Partner Meeting watch the total solar eclipse.Attendees of Conference Direct's Annual Partner Meeting view the eclipse

Albuquerque Goes Bananas for the Savannah Bananas

The Savannah Bananas, who gained fame for a unique style of baseball they call "Banana Ball," were in Albuquerque this past weekend and played two sold-out games at Isotopes Park. Visit Albuquerque partnered with the Isotopes to bring the team to Albuquerque, and more than 75,000 people entered a lottery for a chance to purchase tickets. Fans traveled from throughout New Mexico and from other states to watch the games. Visit Albuquerque built a special landing page on its website where fans could find lodging packages and discounts on meals and things to do. We also worked with the team to bring local cultural touches to their games in Albuquerque, which were livestreamed and shared on the Bananas' social media accounts. The Bananas have more than 15 million social media followers, more than any Major League baseball team. Visit Albuquerque also had a table on the concourse at the ballpark where we handed out game souvenirs and provided information about the city to visitors.

A large group of people poses in front of the Visit Albuquerque van. Everyone is wearing a Banana hat that Visit Albuquerque made.

Someone stands up in the stands of Isotopes Park during the Savannah Bananas game. She is wearing a banana hat created by Visit Albuquerque.

Four Visit Albuquerque employees hold up Savannah Banana hats at the Visit Albuquerque table.


Don't forget to register for the New Mexico Hospitality Association’s Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism. The conference will take place May 13-15 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Join industry leaders for education, celebration and networking. Presentations include topics on sales, marketing, tourism development, workforce and more.

There are different registration options to best fit you and your business. Register now to reserve your spot!

Nominate a New Mexico True Hero

If you know someone who has gone above and beyond to serve their community this year, nominate them for a New Mexico True Hero award. To be eligible, the nominee's service must have taken place between July 2023 and June 2024. Nominations are open until June 30. Nominate someone here.

Upcoming Meetings and Sports Events

In May 2024, more than 56,100 people will participate in meetings and sports events booked and supported by Visit Albuquerque. These events will generate an estimated $15.2 million in direct spend, and some of the noteworthy events include:


Group Name

Est. Attendance

Meeting Location

May 2-3

Texas Health Institute Communities Joined in Action


Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town - A Heritage Hotel & Resort

May 3-5

Knights of Columbus Annual State Convention


Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North

May 3-5

USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships


Other Local Facility

May 4-5

Sun Country Region Volleyball Association Regional Championships


Albuquerque Convention Center

May 4-5

USSSA - United States Specialty Sports Association Cinco de Mayo Baseball Tournament


Jennifer Riordan Spark Kindness Sports Complex

May 4-5

CRU Dance - Albuquerque


Courtyard by Marriott Albuquerque Airport

May 4-5

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association AUFC United Cup


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 4-5

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association State Cup - Round 1


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 5-6

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Spring Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium


The Clyde Hotel

May 6-9

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Mid-Year Technical Conference


Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town - A Heritage Hotel & Resort

May 6-11

Overeaters Anonymous World Service Business Conference


Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North

May 8-11

New Mexico Activities Association State Tennis Championships


Jerry Cline Tennis Center

May 9-12

USA Taekwondo West Grand Prix


Albuquerque Convention Center

May 10-11

New Mexico Activities Association 1A-3A State Track Championships


UNM Campus

May 11-12

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association State Cup - Round 2


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 13-14

New Mexico Activities Association State Golf Championships


Other Local Facility

May 15-18

New Mexico Activities Association State Softball Championships


UNM Campus

May 16-18

New Mexico Activities Association State Baseball Championships


Jennifer Riordan Spark Kindness Sports Complex

May 17-17

New Mexico Activities Association 4A-5A State Track Championships


UNM Campus

May 18-19

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association NM Cup


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 18-19

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association State Cup - Round 3


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 22-26

Cricket Club of Southwest Bhakta Cricket Tournament


Balloon Fiesta Park

May 24-26

USA BMX Spring Nationals


Duke City BMX

May 25-27

New Mexico Youth Soccer Association Sandia Cup


NM Soccer Tournament Complex

May 31-June 2

New Mexico Special Olympics State Games


UNM Campus

Bolded events are citywide events, defined as events that require a minimum of 400 room nights on peak, and will take place across the city in May. Each of these events take place in one part of town, but people who attend them will visit businesses throughout the city for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Let's come together to make their stay memorable, showcasing the best of Albuquerque’s hospitality. Your welcoming spirit can contribute to a positive experience for these visitors and foster a lasting impression of our community.