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Building a better turista trap

March 19, 2007

In 2005, Albuquerque awarded the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau a sales and marketing contract. Part of the deal included the development of a “Destination Master Plan.” This past Saturday—St. Patrick’s Day for you and me—the ACVB unveiled its plan. This Friday, March 23, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the ACVB will host a forum from 9am to 11am—presumably to discuss how it intends to turn words on paper into real action.

I haven’t had the time to read the whole 114 page document (after all, it is just Monday), but there were a few things in the ‘Timeline’ section I’d like to share (starting on page 75 for those following along at home):

60 Days

  • Expand Old Town Evening Hours — Functional May 13
  • Rail Runner Belen to Santa Fe — Start Rail Runner Service

90 Days

  • Explore Downtown Events Center — Review Downtown Events Center
  • Put Life in Civic Plaza — Significant Progress

6 Months

  • Develop Museum Pass System — Museum Pass Strategy, Timetable

1 Year

  • Improve Visitors’ Access to Information — Bilingual Website
  • Improve Albuquerque Taxi Experience — Significant improvements in
    coordination and driver training


  • Protect and Enhance Destination Ability to Own Balloon Image and Support Commercial Ballooning — Will take branding, marketing, zoning steps
  • Improve Visitor Corridors — Focus on upgrading biggest issue spots first, explore incentives for redevelopment, think about architectural styles
  • Portray Albuquerque as a Place Best Experienced by Car — Weave into all tools and public relations

No Timeline

  • Big I Facelift — Complete
  • Albuquerque Modern Trolley System and Narrow Gauge Rail — First Stage Operational

Some of these things sounds great (i.e., expanded Old Town hours, events center (arena?), museum pass, improved taxi service); some of these things are a little perplexing (thought Rail Runner service to Santa Fe was still at least a year out; Albuquerque best experienced from a car(!?); what exactly was the ‘First Stage’ of the modern trolley—not selling it to the public?).

Interesting stuff. I’m not sold that a flawless execution will turn Albuquerque into a ‘world class destination,’ but better destination—sure.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2007 6:51 am

    I don’t know why they would have to “sell” ABQ as best experienced by car. One trip on our public transit will do that for anyone.

    And when did the arena make a comeback? Is Marty trying to sneak this by us with a new name?

  2. El Orange permalink
    March 24, 2007 12:39 pm

    I’m a firm believer in making things easy for tourists. Renting a car is a pain, not to mention navigating in an unfamiliar city. That said, mass transit systems are sometimes pretty difficult to figure out.

    In my traveling experience, I’ve found rail systems the easiest to use — outside of taxi service. The initial light rail line would have hit a number of tourist friendly destinations, not to mention connect folks with the Sunport and Alvarado Transit Center. Our buses do that, too, but there is nothing sexy about a bus. Tourists, I suspect, like out city’s nostalgia and culture; a light rail system could really enhance that experience. Will light rail make a comeback? Who knows, but the improved taxi service would certainly be a boon.

    The arena never really went anywhere — it’s floated around in some metaspace for quite a while. This was the last I’ve heard on the arena. That ‘events center’ language is pretty squirmy. I think they’re talking about an arena, but I’m not certain.

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