- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 13, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Authenticity and the idea of adventure steeped in culture have fueled New Mexico’s award-winning “True” tourism campaign for more than a decade.

That won’t change, but state Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said Tuesday it was time to refresh the brand ahead of what she said will be a “complete rebirth of New Mexico’s tourism economy” as more people are vaccinated and more public health orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic are relaxed.

Schroer unveiled the new “New Mexico True” logo and tagline during a virtual announcement that included a glimpse of the video storytelling that will drive the latest iteration of the tourism campaign. The new design features the state symbol - the iconic zia, whose origins are rooted in the Indigenous community of Zia Pueblo - and the classic slogan of “Land of Enchantment.”

Aside from staying on the cutting edge of the marketing game, officials said the goal is to reignite demand for New Mexico’s unspoiled outdoor expanses, its cuisine and culture following a year in which the state lost out on more than $3 billion in visitor spending and tens of thousands of leisure and hospitality workers were left jobless.

The downturn forced by the pandemic followed several years of consecutive record-breaking tourism numbers for New Mexico. With the New Mexico True brand, the state saw visitor spending increase by 34% to $7.4 billion from 2011 to 2019. In 2019 alone, the industry generated $737 million in state and local taxes.

Schroer expressed confidence that the state can get back to that level and that a special appropriation of $7 million in state funds for tourism renewal efforts will help along with federal recovery money that’s expected in the coming months.

“This agency is prepared to stretch every dollar to reignite demand and restore our tourism infrastructure,” she said. “It’s worth reemphasizing the fact that despite the challenges that the pandemic presented during the budget process, we were still allocated the largest budget ever for tourism.”

The tourism department has been working on the changes for months, with an eye toward making sure the design and font was flexible and would translate well to everything from the pages of a magazine to highway billboards and online ads.

The agency’s website began featuring the updated logo Tuesday, but the department isn’t ready to roll out new advertisements just yet. Schroer said the state’s public health orders will guide the agency on its “path to renewal” and officials will continue monitoring the vaccine rollout.

Even though elements of New Mexico’s “True” campaign have been tapped by neighboring Arizona and Texas in recent years, Schroer said the state can capitalize on its unique offerings - from its tribal nations to the gypsum dunes at White Sands National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the desert badlands once walked by American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

“When it comes to experiencing the great outdoors, experiencing culture, when those two things come together, that’s adventure steeped in culture and that’s a New Mexico True brand promise,” she said.

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