New Mexico Revitalizes Ecotourism Program

State tourism department partners up with EcoNewMexico

By: By Chris Ponzi

EcoNewMexico, a Santa Fe, N.M., LLC, dedicated to promoting creative environmental sustainability, was awarded a $242,500 contract to plan, coordinate, implement and administer New Mexico’s ecotourism program. EcoNewMexico’s scope of work under the contract will include taking inventory of ecotourism assets throughout the state; educating communities throughout the state on ecotourism and teaching ecotourism marketing skills; and working with statewide agencies and other public and private entities.

“We believe EcoNewMexico will help us create vibrant partnerships that will result in new and sustainable business and economic opportunities to communities throughout our state,” said deputy secretary Hobson, who is spear-heading the project.

Ecotourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism industry.

“Ecotourists spend more money, stay longer and have a desire for authentic, hands-on experiences in places where their time and money will benefit the local communities,” said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Ecotourism promotes and preserves nature-based travel experiences, outdoor adventure and cultural heritage. If you combine that with the fact that no other state in the U.S. has developed a corner-to-corner initiative for ecotourism, it means that New Mexico is poised to become one of the world’s best ecotourism destinations.”

“EcoNewMexico is honored to partner with the tourism department in creating a vision for the state of New Mexico through the Ecotourism Program Initiative,” said Charles “Chip” Cunningham, managing director of EcoNewMexico. “Our aim is to fulfill our shared vision of making New Mexico the premier role model and destination for ecotourism and conservation in the United States. We’ll get there by defining and identifying what a world-class ecotourism experience can be, and work with the state to ensure that the beneficiaries are not only those who come to experience New Mexico’s enchantment, but the local communities and wilderness places that are at the heart of these experiences.”