- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico saw record-breaking tourism for the fourth year in a row and created more than 2,500 related tourism jobs last year, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.

The governor and state tourism officials said 700,000 more trips were taken in New Mexico last year, bringing the total number of visitors to 33.4 million.

Those numbers, based on survey data from research firm Longwoods International, point to a steady increase of travel to New Mexico since Martinez took office in 2011.

“New Mexico True allows us to showcase adventures all around the Land of Enchantment that truly feed the soul like no other state is able to do,” Martinez said. “As a result, we’re breaking tourism records and sharing our unique culture, scenic vistas, unrivaled ski slopes and, of course, our green chile.”

Last year, Martinez said half a million more people visited New Mexico in 2014 than in 2013 and credited the state’s New Mexico True campaign. That campaign has featured the state’s famous outdoor locations and New Mexico celebrities, such as mixed-martial arts fighter Carlos Condit.

New Mexico True advertisements have been spotted in airports around the country, including at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

State Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham said New Mexico has spent around $28 million on the New Mexico True campaign since its inception in 2012. The state spent $9.1 million last fiscal year after receiving an increase from state lawmakers, Latham said.

“We’ve learned so much through research since the campaign launched, and we keep finding new ways to put that data to use in all of our advertising and marketing efforts,” Latham said.

Latham said numbers also showed the percentage of New Mexico traveling within state went down, and officials are trying to figure out how to keep some of those travel dollars in the state in the future.

Martinez is scheduled this month to visit Taos, Elephant Butte Lake State Park, and White Sands National Monument as part of her tour.

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Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras .

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