Few people in this sprawling nation have experienced the enchantment of New Mexico.

So says Monique Jacobson, the state tourism secretary. Jacobson, who visited Farmington Thursday to talk about the department's "New Mexico True" campaign, says less than 1 percent of U.S. travelers have visited this state. That means New Mexico is ranked as the 38th most visited state, she said.

But Jacobson sees the glass as half full. Even with those numbers, tourism generates about $5.5 billion per year in revenue for New Mexico. And the potential to boost that number is tremendous, she said.

Even a small uptick could represent billions of dollars in additional revenue.

That's something the Farmington area could use, and we think the bountiful opportunities for outdoor recreation and cultural education here have been seriously undersold.

"How do you bring your region to life under "New Mexico True?'" Jacobson asked. And she said there are about $450,000 available for regional programs around the state.

But Jacobson warns that the department's goal is to boost the entire state with campaigns that focus on each region's attractions. She says she will not support shotgun approaches.

She says people selling any region in the state need to focus on what they have that is unique and cannot be found elsewhere.

Local officials will have to find the words that will grab the attention of travelers with money to spend.

We don't think that will be a problem for an area with world-class fishing and where you can ski one day and rock climb the next. Jacobson said past campaigns have been "really heavy on the culture," which includes the Navajo Nation's art and traditions, as well as the ancient Puebloans.

Jacobson characterizes the type of tourist that would be attracted to this area as someone "with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for authenticity."

Hidden in that wonderful advertising language, however, are hints at some of the hurdles this area faces. It is isolated compared to some other tourist destinations, and its offerings generally appeal to the fit and educated.

That doesn't sound bad, but it limits the possibilities.

"It's a different type of experience," Jacobson said. "It is that which is pure and good Ð where you regroup with the family and the earth and our history. It is adventure that feeds the soul."

Jacobson said efforts to promote the region internationally are not moving the needle. She recommended targeting nearby tourists who fly or drive Ð and particularly those in New Mexico who don't realize the wide variety of vacation possibilities in their own state.

When those people go elsewhere, the money flows out, she said.

"We are focused on growing overall travel to the state, rather than creating a lot of in-fighting," Jacobson said. "If we could just grow, everybody could benefit."