FARMINGTON — Tourism generated about $5.9 billion dollars in the state in 2012, a 7 percent increase from the year before, and New Mexico Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson expects the numbers from 2013 to show even more growth.
Jacobson made the statement during a presentation to about 65 people on New Mexico True, an advertising campaign the state Tourism Department launched last year.
In an interview after the presentation at San Juan College's Quality Center for Business, Jacobson said she hopes the 2013 tourism data, which will be released in a couple of months, will continue to climb upward.
"We're showing good growth in key indicators," she said.
Hotel tax receipts have increased, and traffic on the New Mexico tourism's website has grown by 50 percent, she added.
The department also received a $4.5 million increase in its advertising budget.
Jacobson said the New Mexico True campaign targeted regional outlets using television and other mediums. It recently started to advertise in airports in cities like San Diego, Phoenix and New York City.
The ads depict scenic pictures of New Mexico, usually accompanied by a true or false question.
"We have pictures of people of themselves in front of these. That's really powerful when they want to take your ad with them," Jacobson said.
She noted staff at the tourism department have worked to engage cities throughout the state to join the campaign and are open to help communities become a part of the campaign.
Tonya Stinson, executive director of the Farmington Convention and Visitor Bureau, said the bureau hopes to launch a new ad campaign using New Mexico True.
She said the tourism department must approve the three ads, which she hopes will happen by the end of the week. If the ads are approved, Stinson said they will launch online and via social media.
The ads use two photos from the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and one of a mountain biker.
"In 2012, we made a hard initiative to sell Farmington to the rest of the state," Stinson said.
Stinson wants the ads to increase tourism in Farmington. Already, she said, interest is on the rise. Last year, the convention center's website increased its page views by 39 percent and its mobile site views by 54 percent.
She said some people have said they haven't visited Farmington in a few years.
"It's been 30 years since you last visited us? Well, come out and visit us because a lot has changed in 30 years," she said.
Bil Homka, community development director for Aztec, said he also wants to incorporate the New Mexico True campaign into tourism ads for Aztec.
"I'm very impressed with what they're doing," he said.Online: To see videos of New Mexico True advertisements, go to newmexico.org/videos .