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New Mexico touts tourism as key economic driver

October 11, 2018
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Balloons fly north of the field at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Albuquerque, N.M. (Greg Sorber/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State officials say tourism accounted for a $6.6 billion boost to New Mexico’s economy last year.

Gov. Susana Martinez says that represents the seventh consecutive year of growth for the industry and its largest annual economic impact to date.

She released the 2017 numbers during a visit Wednesday to Albuquerque, which is hosting one of the state’s most popular events — a weeklong balloon fiesta that draws tens of thousands of spectators.

Martinez described tourism as a key economic driver for New Mexico, saying more dollars find their way into the state’s communities as more people visit.

The three largest sectors for visitor spending in 2017 were lodging, food and beverage and retail. Recreation also saw growth.

Visitor spending in 2017 generated $662 million in state and local taxes.

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