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Lloyd Bloodworth said it best: “The tourist business is our greatest industry and brings more cold cash than any other. We are saps if we don’t take advantage of it.”
Bloodworth, publisher of the Ruidoso News, made that statement in 1946, and it’s as true today as it was then.
Because tourism benefits pretty much the entire state, it was curious that when both parties trotted out their jobs packages during the legislative session, neither included tourism. No matter. The rainmakers bestowed an extra $2 million on the Tourism Department, and its secretary is funneling every buck into promotion, where it will get the biggest bang.
Monique Jacobson had four goals when she became Tourism Secretary: Change the way people think about New Mexico, unify and lead the state industry, run the department like a business, and inspire in-state travel.
Notice the second plank, about unifying the industry. Because the Tourism Department played Santa Claus for so long, doling out money here and there, she said, it had contributed to divisiveness. Actually, I think we start with divisiveness. We have a long tradition here of scrapping over small amounts of money, like carp swimming over each other to grab a piece of thrown bread.
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