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Industry Insider

February 2023


The winter season has brought new opportunities and initiatives for Albuquerque. One incredible highlight for Albuquerque as a destination for sporting events and for the local hospitality industry was the 2023 USATF Indoor Championships. The city received outstanding media coverage and welcomed elite track and field athletes to Albuquerque.

This issue of Industry Insider includes details on an exciting new marketing initiative in Denver and recent strategic tradeshow participation by the Visit Albuquerque sales team.

We are also wrapping up Black History Month. Throughout February, we've recognized the contributions the Black community brings to our city year-round in honor of Black History Month. Albuquerque has a rich African American culture and history that brings a vitality to the city, and we encourage you to support Black-owned businesses throughout the year.

Thank you for being a Visit Albuquerque Partner.

Tania Armenta 
President & CEO
Visit Albuquerque


Denver Trains Feature Iconic Albuquerque Images

Now through January 2024, commuters in the Denver metro area can ride on light rail trains that showcase Albuquerque’s rich culture and celebrate some of its most treasured traditions.

Visit Albuquerque wrapped five light rail trains in the Denver Regional Transportation District with vibrant, engaging artwork that gives riders and passersby a closer look at what makes Albuquerque distinctive and special. Each of the five train wraps highlights an authentic Albuquerque experience and is designed to inspire a visit.

  • When passengers board a train wrapped with photos from the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, they will feel like they are stepping into the gondola of a hot air balloon.

an image of a Denver light rail train wrapped in a ballooning Visit Albuquerque promotional image

  • Another train is wrapped to resemble the exterior of adobe buildings like the ones found in Albuquerque’s Old Town. The design replicates the texture of sun-baked adobe and even features the bright red chile ristras and turquoise doors that decorate many Albuquerque homes.

An image of a Denver light rail train wrapped in an image of Albuquerque's Old Town

  • The Spanish Colonial art of punched tin is showcased on another train, with intricate scalloped borders and floral motifs created by Jason Younis y Delgado, a fifth-generation New Mexico tinsmith.

An image of a Denver light rail train wrapped in an image of punched tin promoting Visit Albuquerque

  • Whimsical dragonflies, butterflies and bees buzz around flowers on a train wrap designed by Michael Toya, an award-winning contemporary Indigenous artist.

An image of a Denver light rail train wrapped in a contemporary Native American art image

  • A train wrap that honors traditional Pueblo pottery designs was developed in collaboration with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. New Mexico is home to 19 Native American Pueblos, each with its own artistic styles and traditions.

An image of a Denver light rail train wrapped in an image of Native American pottery promoting Visit Albuquerque

The 11-month advertising campaign immerses people in the artwork with the message “Being This Close Doesn’t Even Come Close.” Printed on each train is a QR code that links to information about the artwork, artists and about visiting Albuquerque.

The project, which will generate an estimated 104 million impressions, was made possible with additional marketing funds generated by overnight stays at lodging properties located in the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District.

Visit Albuquerque Helps Host Successful USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships

The Albuquerque Sports Commission, a division of Visit Albuquerque, played a major role in the success of the USATF Indoor Championships, Feb. 16-18. The event brought in an estimated $500,000 in direct spending to our city. More than 330 elite athletes traveled to Albuquerque to compete. Aleia Hobbs set the time for the second-fastest 60m sprint. Anna Hall set the second-best pentathlon score ever. DeAnna Price set the world record in weight throw. The event was broadcast on NBC on Feb. 18 from 2-4 pm and included coverage about Albuquerque, including a hot air balloon ride athletes got to take. Visit Albuquerque aired two spots during the broadcast.

A few runners run on the track at the Albuquerque Convention Center competing in the USATF 2023 Indoor Track and Field Championships

Visit Albuquerque Attends PCMA Convening Leaders

Scott Craighead, Visit Albuquerque’s Vice President of Sales, Services & Sports, attended PCMA Convening Leaders in Columbus, Ohio, in early January. Close to 3,300 business event professionals were in attendance. The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the world’s largest network of event organizers and suppliers.

Visit Albuquerque Attends RCMA EMERGE

Larry Atchison, Visit Albuquerque's Associate Director of Sales, attended RCMA Emerge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in late January. Sponsored by the Religious Conference Management Association, the event was attended by 348 suppliers and 333 planners. Visit Albuquerque was one of 196 booth participants, and during the show Larry received six RFPs for convention center and non-convention center opportunities.


RCMA 2023

(Left to right) Larry Atchison, Visit ABQ; Lakesha Morgan, Sr. Event Coordinator, TD Jakes Ministries; Harry Schmidt, President & CEO of RCMA

Visit Albuquerque Attends the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives CEO Meeting

Scott Craighead, VP of Sales, Services and Sports and Larry Atchison, Associate Director of Sales, attended the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) CEO Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Over 70 CEOs representing STEM-based associations and societies attended. Visit Albuquerque hosted a dinner with Helms Briscoe, which included CEOs from the American Association for Anatomy, American Association of Immunologists, Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Women in Science, American Ornithology Society, Society for Personality Assessment and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The Visit Albuquerque sales and marketing teams developed a flyer to support the effort at CESSE.

Visit ABQ Hosted Dinner at CESSE 2023

Upcoming Meetings and Sports Events

In March 2023, more than 15,000 people will participate in meetings and sports events booked and supported by Visit Albuquerque. These events will generate an estimated $5.5 million in direct spend and include:


Group Name

Est. Attendance

Meeting Location

Est. Direct Spending

March 3-5

Encore Performing Arts Showcase - 2023 Encore Performing Arts Albuquerque


Albuquerque Convention Center


March 8-11

NCAA 2023 Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships


Albuquerque Convention Center Indoor Track


March 9-12

Association of Psychology Training Clinics 2023 Annual Membership Meeting


Hotel Albuquerque


March 11-12

Libertarian National Committee March 2023 Board Meeting


Ramada Plaza by Wyndham


March 16-18

Sweet Adelines International Golden West Region 21 Annual Competition


The Clyde Hotel


March 17-19

Sun Country Region Volleyball Association 2023 Sun Country ABQ Bid Qualifier


Albuquerque Convention Center


March 17-18

Fandom Events 2023 Anime New Mexico


Crowne Plaza Albuquerque


March 18-19

United States Specialty Sports Association St. Patrick’s Day Tournament


Participants Select Own Hotels


March 27-31

Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society 2023 Convention


The Clyde Hotel


Please help welcome these visitors and groups to Albuquerque!

Jim Walther Retires from the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

Jim Walther will be retiring from the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History at the end of February. He has served as the museum’s director since 1996. Jim served as the chair of Visit Albuquerque’s Board of Directors from 2011-2012. We are grateful for Jim’s leadership and involvement with our organization and the industry and wish him all the best in his retirement. We look forward to working with Jennifer Hayden as the museum's new executive director.

Paul Smith Retires from Balloon Fiesta

Paul Smith, the longest-serving executive director for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, retired at the end of January. He served in the position for 26 years, providing invaluable knowledge and leadership. We’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Paul throughout his tenure as he’s guided and grown the world class event. We are grateful for his significant contributions to the city and state! Sam Parks, the Balloon Fiesta's director of operations, has taken over as the executive director, and we look forward to working with him in this new role.