State Panel Talks Tourism Assistance Programs | Local News

The New Mexico Department of Tourism has received new funding from state lawmakers and wants area businesses and government officials to consider how these grants and other department offerings could be used to attract more visitors to Roswell and surrounding communities.

A Roswell city administrator said the city has already received quite a bit of state funding and plans to apply for more to expand the Roswell Visitor Center and support the 2023 UFO Festival.

Deputy Cabinet Secretary Antoinette Vigil and several other state tourism department officials hosted a “New Mexico True Tour” stop at the Roswell Convention Center on Tuesday afternoon.

They have already visited Silver City and Truth or Consequences, will travel to Carlsbad next and plan a visit later in the month to Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Ruidoso.

After the panel’s presentation at the Roswell Convention Center, Public Affairs Director Juanita Jennings said she expected to lead Tourism Department staff on the annual tour of the city and its attractions, this year to include the Convention Center, the Roswell Museum, the Visitors Center, the downtown business district, and two tourist businesses they chose to visit: the Roswell UFO Space Walk and SpacePort Roswell.

After the meeting, Vigil said she wanted attendees to learn how to “link, align and leverage” department initiatives and learn about new programs, including new funding opportunities.

“Fiscal year is always kind of the start of a whole new budget cycle, so we want to make sure communities understand how we ‘on land’ can help their tourism business,” she said.

The Tourism Department’s budget has increased by $12.3 million to $29 million for fiscal year 2023, which begins July 1.

Grants and other financial assistance for communities and organizations include programs to help pay for training for hospitality workers, to help accommodation businesses generate income if they are hosting displaced people, to clean or beautify areas, to support tourist sites or projects in rural areas. and to fund tourism-related infrastructure projects.

Just launched with state funding on April 18, according to Lancing Adams, Director of Tourism Development, is the event’s three-pronged growth and sustainability program.

“We know events have been really impacted by the pandemic,” Adams said. “And we’re really trying to support and empower communities and community supporters through targeted investments to seek out some of those funds to run some of those events and allow them to grow and sustain their success.”

Components include up to $5,000 for technical assistance for accelerator projects to be built for launching events, sponsorships for existing events up to $50,000, and cooperative marketing funds that provide up to at $10,000.

Other department initiatives that feature Chaves County and could be used to do more, department officials say, include social media promotions, billboard and airport advertising, website tourism newmexico.org and its online merchants feature, New Mexico magazine, media pitches for national media coverage, and the New Mexico True Certified branding effort and marketing efforts for in-state-made products.

Jennings said the City of Roswell received about $46,000 from the department in the current fiscal year for the co-funded and co-branded marketing program and has its applications for next year. This current year, the money paid for advertising in various publications and at airports. Next year, the city wants to use the money for several things, including growing its presence with social media influencers and developing websites.

The city also asked the department for matching funds to expand the visitor center. Jennings said the city has already allocated $300,000 for the project and chosen a contractor.

“I think that’s one of our greatest assets that we have to help support our small businesses and our restaurants,” Jennings said. “That’s what our Visitor Center does. We’re pushing visitors who come over there to different areas of our communities – and especially with our new app that we’ve just launched, that’s our main job, to get those visitors over here and disburse them.

The city also received $9,000 for the 2022 UFO Festival for internet and social media advertising and plans to apply for the recently launched Event Growth and Sustainability Funding for the 2023 festival.

Molly Boyles, vice chair of the MainStreet Roswell board of directors, said she wanted to know more about the process of getting products into the New Mexico True Certified program, which makes them eligible to be included in efforts to state-developed advertising and marketing.

Bryce Turner, creative director of the marketing division, said about 500 businesses in the state are currently participating.

“We know you have a lot of great products here, whether it’s pecans, pistachios, wineries, breweries,” Turner said, “any type of product made in New Mexico is welcome for join this program.”

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