NMHA continues to work to ensure that policy makers understand the importance of investing in the hospitality and tourism industry. Most recently, we sent a letter to the Lt. Governor outlining the importance of investing federal funds into our industry:
Rebuild Tourism - Revitalize the Economy
While the hospitality & tourism industry is starting to recover, there is still a lot of work to do.
Workforce Issues - The hospitality industry continues to deal with significant hiring challenges and worker shortages. To address these challenges, New Mexico needs to develop and fund programs (Tourism focused LEDA Programs, Job Training, Job Recruitment, etc.) that focus on getting people back to work in a safe manner. Competitive wages and hiring incentives have not fully resolved the issue, and every sector of Hospitality continues to struggle with hiring, training, and retention of workers. Though enhanced UI benefits have kept some from accepting work, other barriers include: a desire for flexible schedules; the need for training for workers who have changed industries; and the lack of access to reliable/affordable childcare. Hospitality and related businesses cannot return to full capacity until they have a workforce capable of fully staffing their consumer-focused service-based businesses. The industry does recognize the need to protect workers and will continue to take every precaution to protect them against COVID while providing other needed benefits. Continued state and local support is crucial to help the industry rebuild. This support should include:
· Getting federal aid dollars out into the communities so they can work to attract visitors and encourage investment,
· Investing in workforce development, training, and retention programs,
· Promoting small business development centers, and
· Helping small business owners access available programs and funding sources.
Federal Funds - Federal funds to support and promote tourism are critical. The industry will not fully recover unless the state invests in direct marketing campaigns, worker training, workforce development, and other programs that drive economic development. An investment of $150 million over two years will help support the industry as it works to rebuild. Allocated funds should go towards:
$60 million - Marketing and Advertising ($30 million per year)
$45 million - Tourism Segment Recovery
$8 million - Meetings and Conventions
$10 million - Events
$15 million - Aviation Hub Service
$2 million - Sports Tourism
$8 million - Special Consumer Districts
$2 million - Rural Pathways
$45 million - Career Advancement and Job Creation
Tourism is Economic Development - Tourism and hospitality careers provide above minimum wage (at entry level) jobs in rural and urban communities. It is also a reliable industry that leads to increased investment in the state which in turn generates significant revenue for the state and local governments through increased revenue from property taxes, GRT, CIT and PIT. Tourism also helps facilitate economic diversification by providing base services (restaurants, hotels, large events, small events, outdoor activities, concerts, tours, museums, etc.) that make NM a more attractive place to visit, live and ultimately locate businesses. To attract and retain business, NM needs to be a place people want to visit and stay.
Other States – New Mexico should follow the lead of neighboring states as they invest heavily in tourism marketing and promotion as well as workforce development and the improvement of tourism infrastructure. Tourism marketing and promotion is the second largest economic driver in New Mexico and has a proven and significant return. The industry will not fully recover without significant investment in this sector. Examples of competitive states’ support include
· Arizona has announced a $101 million package that includes marketing funding for destination marketing organizations (DMOs), reinvigorating local community programs and events, and marketing support for domestic and international flights and outdoor recreation. The Initiative also provides funding to: AZ State Parks & Trails for revitalization and improvement; legacy golf course revitalization; the AZ Lodging & Tourism Association for a workforce initiative development; and Local First for rural destination development.
· California is investing $95 million into programs to allow Visit California to vastly expand its advertising outreach to domestic travelers across the United States. In addition, the stimulus will allow for: a $20 million investment in campaigns to promote culinary tourism and family travel in the CA, winter sports and a new emphasis on promoting travel to CA’s urban cores hard hit by Covid; a dedicated $4.5 million investment to bring back business and group travel; and, a robust co-op program to promote travel in all corners of CA.
· Alaska is investing 15% of its $1.02 billion in federal relief into an Alaska Tourism Revitalization Relief Fund to promote tourism and adapt services for potential loss of cruise ship season revenue/employment.
· New York launched a $40 million marketing campaign earlier this summer focusing on outdoor destinations and designed to rebuild New York’s economy by revitalizing the state’s tourism industry.
· Colorado legislators passed, and the Governor signed, a bill creating the Meetings and Events Incentive which provides $10M to incentivize meetings and events with a cash rebate of 10% against hard costs for hosting meetings and events.
New Mexico needs to invest in programs that rebuild the workforce and in marketing to help rebuild tourism and business travel. An investment of $150 million in Federal funds will ensure that the hospitality industry is well positioned to rebuild its workforce and attract visitors as the travel industry continues to recover.
New Mexico Hospitality Association Workforce Challenges Survey (06/2021)
Alaska Announces Tourism Investment:
New York Tourism Marketing Investment:
Colorado Meetings and Events Incentive