$360,000 is the income Santa Fe County received from lodgers’ taxes in fiscal year 2011.
8.6% is the increase in lodgers’ tax income Santa Fe County received over FY 2010.
I think the largest reason [for the increase] probably is the fact that Encantado resort and Bishop’s Lodge Ranch saw a very strong increase in their occupancy over last fiscal year…We were a portion of that [increase], but there are many factors that caused it.—Russ Rountree, president, Impressions Advertising (under contract with the county to promote local tourism)
Santa Fe County lodgers' tax income leapt last fiscal year, partly with the help of Impressions Advertising, which touted the county in national magazines and in 15-second cable TV spots that ran in Roswell, Farmington and Las Cruces.
Unfortunately, next year's numbers might not be so encouraging: FY 2011 ended in June, before the Las Conchas and Pacheco fires derailed many tourists' plans to visit.
"When the nightly newscast came on [about the Las Conchas fire], phone lines immediately lit up with cancellations because of the doom and gloom put forth by the national media," Rountree told the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners at its Aug. 30 meeting.
Steve Lewis, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau, says part of the CVB's efforts involved trying to correct misinformation about the fire.
"NBC consistently called [Los Alamos National Laboratory] the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory," Lewis says. "We were in the mode of constantly correcting them. It didn't do any good; they continued calling it that."
CVB, which was criticized in a recent consultant's report for an ineffective staffing structure and other alleged shortcomings, would not provide the city's FY 2011 lodgers' tax income figure before press time.
The city and county are hoping to receive a joint promotion grant of $10,000 from the state Tourism Department in October, which would help recruit travel writers to visit Santa Fe. While their operations are very different—CVB has a $2.6 million annual budget and is a full-fledged city department, while Impressions has a $290,000 annual budget for its work on county promotions—their branding seems to concur:
The city's slogan is "Travel to the beat of a different drum," while the county's is "It's no place like home."