Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Breakdown by county on the impact on the tourism industry in NM

  • The dashboard includes a tourism injury index that rates the likelihood of a rapid recovery in the tourism industry by county.
  • San Juan County outperformed most of its peers across the state, with a score of 6.75.
  • Several other counties performed worse with a score of 7 or higher.

FARMINGTON – New Mexico tourism officials have developed a formula to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s tourism industry and the information is available in the form of an online data dashboard on the state Department of Tourism’s website.

The dashboard includes a tourism injury index which, according to a press release from the tourism department, rates the likelihood of a rapid recovery in the tourism industry by county.

The index takes into account variables such as year-on-year loss of sales, the percentage of short-term rentals compared to traditional accommodation, the dependency on visitor spending and the dependency on meetings and conventions as variables.

According to the index, San Juan County’s score of 6.75 is lower than most of its counterparts across the state, but not as bad as a handful of other counties, each of which scored 7 or more on the scale. These counties include Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Eddy, Socorro, McKinley, Guadalupe, and Quay. Those high scores are based on the severity of the economic damage they have suffered and a slower forecast timeline for recovery, tourism officials said.

Bernalillo and Quay performed worse than all other counties in the state with 7.75 points. The least affected counties in the state were Mora (4) and Sandoval (4.25).

The data dashboard, found at newmexico.org/industry/news/2021-legislative-session/, provides weekly updates on occupancy rates and travel expenses, as well as monthly updates on leisure and hospitality unemployment. It also provides a breakdown of changes in tourism income and unemployment rates year-on-year at the county level.

San Juan County, which relies on a range of water-related activities to boost tourism, suffered a nearly 20% drop in sales in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a survey compiled by state officials.

In the year-over-year lost tourism revenue category, San Juan County again performed poorly, albeit not as badly as many other counties. His loss was 19.94%, which was still a better result than Santa Fe County’s worst hit with a 35.1% loss. Lea County followed with 29.75%, closely followed by De Baca County (28.36%), Taos County (23.47%), and Bernalillo County (22.82%).

In two counties in the state, income from tourism increased year-over-year. Torrance County led with an increase of 11.08%, while Otero County came in second with 7.75%.

According to the press release, an executive budget recommendation for fiscal year 2022 calls for a $ 25 million budget for tourism recovery in New Mexico, with an anticipated three-year timeline for the industry to recover.

“The numbers on this data dashboard and the Tourism Injury Index results show the urgency of investing in the tourism recovery that is currently supporting every part of the state,” Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said in the press release. “The $ 25 million special grant is a targeted investment in the tourism recovery that will keep New Mexico competitive and help boost our economy when we can start promoting travel again.”

Tourism officials have estimated a loss of $ 3.15 billion in visitor spending in the state in 2020, a combined loss of $ 163 million in state and local tax revenue. They also estimate that 20,000 people from the leisure and hospitality sectors have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected]. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.

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