By Allen Dale Olson

Did you know that more than 8% of all jobs in New Mexico are supported by visitor spending – by tourism? That means that one out of every twelve workers in the state are dependent on visitors.

This was one of the tourism facts presented to the New Mexico Tourism Commission this week in a report prepared by Rebecca Latham, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.

I attended the Commission meeting as President of the Albuquerque Museum Collaborative Council, but I made known to the Commissioners and the other attending tourism professionals that I also represent the Museum of the American Military Family and established a presence amid the people whose work generated more than eight billion dollars for the state last year. Every dollar spent on tourism marketing brings a return of just about seven dollars.

Information like this empowers the Commissioners to tell members of the State Legislature that tourism expenditures are investments with a promise of real return. Secretary Latham is hoping for an additional $4.7 million for FY 2016 to expand tourism marketing to more West Coast population centers, most notably San Francisco whose business leaders have already expressed interest in doing more in our state.

Last fall, at a press conference, Governor Martinez announced that marketing efforts in Chicago and Boston have proved very successful.

I foresee that the Museum of the American Military Family will soon become one of the destinations included in state and city marketing plans. We are already included in the comprehensive museum brochure published by the Museum Collaborative Council and are now on the radar of both the New Mexico Arts Commission and the Tourism Commission.

Nationally, New Mexico’s share of the overnight market ranks 32nd, up from 36th in 2010. It’s possible that MAMF will help improve that ranking in the near future as more and more Veterans and their families, Brats, and DoDDS teachers learn of their symbolic home in the Land of Enchantment and find their way here. They represent a special niche demographic largely overlooked throughout the country–and we predict that will soon change.