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As we enter the spring season, we look toward new opportunities and growth in the industry. March is also Women’s History Month. Join us in celebrating the inspiring female entrepreneurs in our community and recognizing the women throughout history who have helped shape Albuquerque into the destination it is today.  

This issue of Industry Insider includes an update about the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District, covers the exemption to the FAA rule that had the potential to devastate hot air ballooning in Albuquerque, takes a look at a potential new space hub in the Downtown area, and celebrates one of our very own Partners and Board members who was recently recognized with a well-deserved award.

Thank you for being a Visit Albuquerque Partner.

Tania Armenta 
President & CEO
Visit Albuquerque


Albuquerque City Council Approves Establishment of Tourism Marketing District

At their meeting on Monday, March 21, Albuquerque City Councilors unanimously approved the establishment of an Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District that will increase the amount of money available to promote the city as a travel destination. Councilors Isaac Benton and Brook Bassan sponsored the bill.

By adding a 2% assessment at guest check-out at about 150 lodging properties within the District, the ATMD will provide an important source of new funding to market Albuquerque as a top destination for leisure travelers, sporting events, meetings and conventions. The assessment will supplement marketing funds provided by the 5% lodgers’ tax and the 1% hospitality fee. Even with the additional 2% assessment, Albuquerque will remain below the national average for guest check-out fees.

The ATMD will be catalytic for our city’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry. It will lead to more visitors, higher occupancy at lodging properties and greater economic prosperity for businesses in the hospitality industry and across the city. 

Guests will begin paying the assessment on July 1, 2022, and the revenue raised will be used to expand marketing, enhance visitor services and develop destination assets. 

For additional details, read the full news release and comments from local hoteliers.




Vertical Albuquerque Skyline

FAA Grants One-Year Exemption for Hot Air Ballooning in Albuquerque

On March 16, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced that hot air balloonists will be able to sign a letter of agreement that allows them to fly over Albuquerque for one year. The letter of agreement gives officials time to identify a permanent solution to address an FAA rule that requires pilots flying in certain airspace to carry a specific type of equipment to communicate with Air Traffic Control towers and other aircraft. The regulation was written for fixed-wing aircraft, but the Air Traffic Control tower in Albuquerque was also enforcing it for hot air balloons. Balloon pilots cannot install the equipment, however, because it must be wired into electrical systems that balloons do not have.
Balloonists can sign onto the letter that covers certain safety procedures pilots must follow. The letter will be in effect until March 2023.

Mayor Tim Keller, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation all urged the FAA to issue a permanent waiver from the rule for Albuquerque’s balloonists. Visit Albuquerque worked closely with the local ballooning community to advocate for a solution that allowed flights to continue and protected Albuquerque’s status as the Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World. Special thanks to Scott Appelman of Rainbow Ryders for championing the advocacy effort along with the leadership of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for their work to find a resolution.




Balloon pilot firing burner

NMTD’s Record Budget For Upcoming Fiscal Year

The New Mexico Tourism Department received a record investment in the FY23 state budget. The Legislature appropriated $19.6 million for marketing and advertising, including $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The NMTD will be able expand the department's Cooperative Marketing Grant Program to provide a 2:1 match for participating partners. Visit Albuquerque participated in the co-op marketing grant program in FY22 and plans to leverage the program again in FY23 to promote Albuquerque.

NMTD Brand

Albuquerque In the Running for Space Hub

Could a new space hub be coming to Albuquerque? The City is competing for up to $100 million in federal money to build a center for space innovation. Mayor Tim Keller announced that Albuquerque is a finalist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. If selected, the City and its team of private and public entities will use the dollars to build the Space Valley Center, a multi-use facility with conference rooms, labs and space for startups. The Space Valley Center would be built downtown next to the Albuquerque Convention Center and could bring $540 million in economic growth and more than 3,000 jobs to New Mexico in the next 10 years. 

Albuquerque Sees Top Job Growth in 2021

The Albuquerque metro area ranked in the top 10 for the most job growth in 2021. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the metro added about 24,300 new jobs between December 2020 and December 2021. That 6.56% increase put Albuquerque eighth in the United States for growth. The country’s largest metros averaged about 4% job growth.

Albuquerque’s leisure and hospitality industry showed the biggest job gains for the year, adding 6,500 jobs, for 20.1% growth. A total of about 38,800 people in the Albuquerque metro area were employed in the local leisure and hospitality industry at the end of 2021.

Hotel Reception (Pixabay)

New Nonstop Flights Announced from Albuquerque to Las Vegas

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines will begin flying nonstop between Albuquerque and Las Vegas, Nev. Frontier’s twice-weekly flights start May 12, and tickets are on sale now. Spirit will offer daily service to Las Vegas beginning Aug. 3, marking the airline’s entry into the Albuquerque market. Southwest and Allegiant also offer service between Albuquerque and Las Vegas.

New Academy for Filmmakers To Be Established

The New Mexico Legislature has allocated $40 million to establish a Next Generation Media Academy in Bernalillo County. The academy will provide training for an array of careers in the film, television and digital media industry. The goal is to admit 1,000 students a year. An estimated 9,000 New Mexicans are employed in the film industry, and Albuquerque has earned accolades from Moviemaker Magazine as the best place to live and work as a moviemaker for four years in a row.

NM crew filming a van


Ace Your Team’s Customer Service Skills and Knowledge of Albuquerque

As the temperatures rise in Albuquerque, more visitors will be coming to our city, ready to explore. Now is the perfect time to brush up on your team members' customer service skills and strengthen their knowledge about the city’s offerings and attractions.
To help, Visit Albuquerque is thrilled to announce that our popular ACE program is returning with custom training for employees in the hospitality industry. The ACE program is designed to develop Albuquerque Community Experience professionals, who can answer guests’ questions about things to do and places to visit. It also provides training on topics such as first impressions, effective communication and handling conflict.

Our March ACE class sold out quickly. Don’t miss your chance to attend the next class in May:

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., class is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque
$25 per person for Partner businesses, $40 per person for non-Partners

A continental breakfast will be provided along with water and coffee. To register, call Trish Hathoot at 505-908-8178 or send an email to

Each graduate will be recognized as an Albuquerque Community Experience professional and will receive a complimentary Community Experience pass that allows them and one guest to visit attractions throughout the Albuquerque area. The value of each ACE pass is more than $500!
Seating for the May 24 class is limited, so register your employees now!



The Importance of Social Media Advertising

Keeping up with posting on social media can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it’s an important way to market your business. Adding in paid social media advertising can boost your reach, and make a huge difference in your social media presence. Click here to read more from Hootsuite about where to put your social media ad budget to make it the most successful for your campaigns.

Partner Opportunities

Promote Your Balloon Fiesta Specials & Packages with Us 

This year will bring the 50th Balloon Fiesta, and we are eager to start promotions for this landmark event right away. We want to include you in these Balloon Fiesta promotional efforts. If you are offering a Balloon Fiesta/Fall package, deal, special, tour, event or any other promotions, we want to know about it and share it! Packages and deals created around an event or a season are a great way to encourage visitors to your business. And Balloon Fiesta and the surrounding fall events create a great opportunity to do just that.

We encourage you to start thinking about 50th Balloon Fiesta offerings now. Get creative and think outside the box! Aside from coupons, some promotional ideas might include:

  • A special Balloon Fiesta cocktail or menu item
  • A tasting or featured menu 
  • A weeknight event at your restaurant or attraction
  • A dedicated tour
  • Expanded service hours 

Submit a package or a coupon to have your offer promoted on our webpage, which is highly ranked on search engines and receives an average of 140,000 unique visitors per month.

If you have an offering or special that is not a coupon or deal, email us at  

2019 Balloon Fiesta Frame

Submit Your Current Coupons 

Coupons can be a great way to drive traffic to your business. If you have a current coupon or special running, please submit it to us so we can list it on our highly visited and shared Specials & Coupons page. We also promote these specials and coupons during special events, meetings and conventions being hosted in Albuquerque.  

Click here to submit your current coupons and specials. 

Submit Your Events to the ABQ365 Events Calendar 

Visit Albuquerque’s ABQ365 Events Calendar offers a great opportunity to promote your events! The one-stop, all-ABQ encompassing calendar features primarily arts, entertainment and culture-focused events, appealing to both locals and visitors. 

Event listings offer a great opportunity for additional exposure and promotion, and can help keep your business top-of-mind – for free! 

Click here to get started.

Tell Us What’s New

We want to help you share your new initiatives. If you are offering a new type of service or concept, a new product, or have anything else exciting or new going on, we want to hear about it! Send anything and everything to

Promote & Share 


Partner Kudos


Heather Arnold Recognized as a Woman of Influence 

Heather Arnold, CEO of Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals and Chair of the Visit Albuquerque Board of Directors, earned a Woman of Influence award this year from Albuquerque Business First. The awards are designed to recognize local leaders for their positive impact on the community. Heather was previously a graphic designer, but she has since created a name for herself as a leader in the tourism industry. Click here to read more about why Heather was selected for this award!

NM Ice Wolves Poised to Wrap Up Historic Season

The New Mexico Ice Wolves will finish their regular season this weekend after an impressive third year for the franchise. The team’s wins include the first ever hat-trick in a game and the largest comeback in Ice Wolves’ history with a five-goal third period against El Paso. The team is set to end the regular season at the top of their division.

New Mexico Ice Wolves Hockey

One-on-One with Mike Silva

Mike Silva, founder and co-owner of Rude Boy Cookies and Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory, was featured in Albuquerque Business First! He talked about his entrepreneurial spirit and his hopes to expand Rude Boy. Be sure to check out the full article!


Heritage Inspirations Launches New Tours

Heritage Inspirations added three new full-day tours to explore Albuquerque. “The Volcanic Scenic Byway Cultural Tour” explores some of the beautiful landscape that makes the Duke City unique, including Soda Dam and Jemez Springs. “Touring the Turquoise Trail from ABQ” takes you on a road trip from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, immersing yourself in eclectic New Mexico towns along the way. The “Bienvenidos de Albuquerque Tour” gives a taste of everything Albuquerque, from the Petroglyphs National Monument to the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway.


Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway 4

Photo Credit: Jay Blackwood

Steel Bender Brewyard Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary

Congratulations to Steel Bender Brewyard, which marked its 5th anniversary earlier this month. Steel Bender has expanded brewery operations at its location on 2nd Street in Los Ranchos to keep up with demand at its taproom as well as at retail locations throughout the state. In addition, the family-owned brewery is making plans for a second location in the near future.

Featured Partners

Discovery Map of Albuquerque 

Partnering with Visit Albuquerque to provide the Official Map of Albuquerque since 2016

Put your business on the map!

  • Visit Albuquerque Partners get 10% off!
  • Monthly payment option available.
  • 300,000 printed maps distributed at over 350 locations year-round, including Visit Albuquerque offices, welcome centers, Albuquerque International Sunport, car rental offices, hotels, motels, and RV parks.
  • 25,000+ digital viewers driving traffic to your website.
  • Full-color ad design free of charge.

Reserve your space now! Call 505-750-0076 or email


Discovery Map Logo

Unbelievable Pass

Calling local breweries, entertainment and restaurant businesses to participate in a digital passport program developed to help local businesses with no cost to participate. The Unbelievable Pass will be the premier deals pass for Albuquerque and the perfect cure for cabin fever.

Email for more information.

Unbelievable Pass Logo