On the front page of the Roswell Daily Record, Nov. 17, 2017, a very encouraging article about the increase in New Mexico’s tourism was published. Increase where? Here? I would like to be wrong, but I believe there is little to support that claim unless our leading barometer of foreign visitation, the UFO museum, saw a rise in attendance as well.
Then, in the Lisa Dunlap article on declining tourism in Chaves County on Nov. 22, the point was made that visitor attendance is indeed declining. This was attributed to a downturn in the oil and gas industry. However true that may be, many more indicators echo that fact.
There is no growth in the gaming industries in the area (the Hubbards asked for, and received a special tax consideration a few years ago when they threatened to move the race track), the Ski Apache skiing season is diminishing, and this year saw the last of any organized motorcycle rally in Ruidoso.
The population has flattened both here and in Ruidoso, which was the cool weather mecca for Texans decades ago in the early days of air conditioning. There is much more, but that’s the picture. Depressing yes, but correctable.
Piecemeal advertising by individual communities and attractions is expensive and not coordinated. Chambers of commerce, communities and tourist-based businesses along U.S. 70, the “Big Seven-Oh,” should synchronize their efforts to expensive duplication, and expound the many exciting opportunities that all could enjoy.
We need to loudly flaunt in media with national exposure the many cultural, scenic and recreational assets of U.S. 70 if we truly expect to elevate out-of-state visitor/tourist attendance in our area.
Just between us, we should never forget that the “Big Seven-Oh” has more diversity to offer travelers than U.S. 66 ever had.