State tourism director speaking at chamber banquet

New Mexico Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson is the keynote speaker Friday at the Annual Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce banquet.

"Having the secretary speak at our banquet is a huge honor," said Patsy Gresham, chamber director.

Gresham said Jacobson would be discussing the state's latest tourism campaign. She said this topic is relevant to area business as tourism is a large part of the local economy.

Jacobson will be highlighting the tourism department's New Mexico True campaign, said Veronica Valencia, department of tourism director of marketing.

Valencia said New Mexico True is a brand created by the tourism department that was launched in April 2012. She said goals of the campaign were to combat misconceptions about New Mexico and establish the state as a destination for tourists, rather than a pass through state.

Valencia said the department worked with focus groups and discovered many had little to no knowledge about what the state had to offer. She said most thought of the state as a dry desert with few tourism attractions.

"The campaign will help to create an awareness about New Mexico and give tourists a compelling reason to visit," Valencia said.

The second goal is encouraging tourists to explore and experience the rich cultural venues available throughout the state, Valencia said.

The presentation will feature a return on investment study and effects the New Mexico True campaign has had on tourism.

Valencia said studies show that for every dollar spent on advertising, $3 came back to the New Mexico Tax base. She said the campaign was effective in motivating people to come to the state, resulting in increased tourism revenue, creation of new tourism jobs and boosted the state's economy.

Valencia said there would be information presented on how Tucumcari can adapt and become a part of New Mexico True. She said this would present an opportunity for Tucumcari to capitalize on an already successful tourism campaign.

Gresham said the Chamber has already created two approved New Mexico True advertisements, which will soon run as part of the campaign. She said the banquet's purpose is to help keep members and public informed about the chamber's efforts.

Gresham said the banquet is a chamber meeting for the members and is open to the public when an annual progress report is given. She said the banquet also serves as a fundraiser as the chamber budget is comprised of the membership dues, donations from the Lodgers Tax Board and Quay County and fundraisers.

Gresham said most of the money raised during the banquet would come from the silent auction. She said there is a catered meal, which is being prepared by Del's restaurant this year and live entertainment for local artist Rick Haymaker.

"We encourage the public to attend this event, even if they are not members of the chamber," Gresham said. "It will be an opportunity for them to see what the Chamber of Commerce does for the community as a whole."

Event information

Tucumcari/QuayCounty Annual Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet

Date: Friday doors open at 6 p.m.

Location: Tucumcari Convention Center

Tickets: $35

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