New tourism campaign announced at annual Chamber of Commerce banquet

Tucumcari is now one of eight cities to join the states Department of Tourism's New Mexico True tourism campaign.

Monique Jacobson, tourism department cabinet secretary made the announcement Friday to more than 180 attendants of the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.

"I want to thank Tucumcari for coming on board with this campaign," Jacobson said. "This makes you part of something which will work hard to increase tourism in your town."

Jacobson was the quest speaker at the banquet and highlighted the success of the year-old program. She said a study has shown for every dollar spent on this campaign, three came back to the New Mexico tax base.

Jacobson said the money raised by tourism ultimately goes into the state, which is put to use for the residents including funding for schools and roads.

"We wanted to create an magnetic brand," Jacobson said. "We want people to think about New Mexico and lead them hear."

During Jacobson's presentation there was a video of focus groups held out of state. Those video asked people what they thought about New Mexico. Many of the answers were negative and misconceptions about the state; desert wasteland, no attractions, just a place to pass through on the way to another state.

Jacobson said the data collected from the focus group and national statistics listing New Mexico as the 38th state considered for visit showed there needed to be a change. She said many had no idea what the state had to offer.

"We don't have to change what is here," Jacobson said. "We have to let them know what we have."

Jacobson said the campaign is aimed at inspiring people to visit the state as more than just a pass-through. She said the campaign would show the tourist the adventure they can have in New Mexico, which is steeped in culture.

"The presentation intrigued me," said Richard Randals. chamber president.

Randals said tourism has always been vital to the community, though knowing it helps to fund schools makes it that much more important.

Jacobson said she was excited to have Tucumcari join the New Mexico True campaign. She said she visited Tucumcari more than a year ago and her Route 66 experience was very much a part of the idea to stress adventure stepped in culture.

"People don't know about the treasures that are in Tucumcari," Jacobson said.

Jacobson said among those treasures are the murals painted by local artist Doug Quarles and Mesalands Community College's Dinosaur Museum.

"The museum was amazing," Jacobson said. "They have a program with the college which discovered a new dinosaur. Who wouldn't want to visit a place with those types of attractions?"

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