ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The state tourism department's $1.2 million "New Mexico True" campaign has brought taxpayers $3 for every dollar spent, a success that Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson said she will use to seek a doubling of her department's advertising budget.
A recent study by Longwoods International, a national research firm that specializes in measuring the effectiveness of tourism advertising campaigns, shows the effort launched in April brought back $3.6 million in state and local taxes. It also produced 264,000 additional trips and generated $35.1 million in additional visitor spending.
And for every dollar spent on advertising, visitors spent $30 in New Mexico, the report says.
"The results of this research demonstrate that our new campaign has been effective in motivating people to visit our state," Jacobson said in releasing the study on Wednesday. "Our investment is paying off — every visit results in jobs, tax revenue and a stronger economy for New Mexico."
She emphasized that the study used very conservative metrics, counting only trips that people said they planned after seeing the ads.
The state has launched advertising campaigns in the past, but it has never hired a professional firm to quantify their effectiveness, Jacobson said.
Development of the New Mexico True branding and advertising campaign was a nearly singular focus of Jacobson's from the time she took over the agency in early 2011 until it was launched in April. The idea was to create a brand that would help the state more effectively compete with neighboring tourism destinations like Colorado and Arizona.
Sharon Schultz, CEO of the Tourism Association of New Mexico, called the returns "significant," and credited the campaign with helping attract more airlines and flights to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
On Wednesday, United announced it would join Great Lakes Airlines in adding flights between Denver and Santa Fe. Last month, Jet Blue announced it would launch nonstop service between Albuquerque and New York, giving the city once-a-day non-stops to and from JFK airport.
The state also has earned top rankings in several key travel publications recently.
Jacobson said she will use the study to support her request that lawmakers double her department's annual advertising budget, from $2.5 million to $5 million and expand its reach beyond the regional drive market and to cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and possibly New York.