Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,966 tourism-related jobs were saved in New Mexico because of a partnership between the New Mexico Tourism Department and the New Mexico Small Business Development Center, according to a press release from NMTD.

“We knew from the beginning of the pandemic that we needed to be proactive in providing the tourism industry with adequate business counseling to adjust to the emergency public health order,” Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said in the release. “By establishing this partnership in the early stages of the pandemic, we were able to offer tourism-related business owners with the coaching and support they needed to make the best decisions for their business.”

In response to the emergency public health order, NMTD and NMSBDC established the partnership in Spring 2020 to provide tourism-related businesses with consultation and business counseling services, per the release.

According to the release, NMSBDC business counselors and NMTD staff provided technical assistance with the application process for a variety of federal grant and loan programs.

From Mar. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021, NMSBDC provided 5,463 hours of direct business counseling to tourism-related businesses to help with financial assistance and recommend adaptation strategies for COVID-safe operations, the release said. Through the business counseling service, NMSBDC helped tourism-related businesses secure 467 loans and equity investments totaling $51.1 million, the release said.

“Every type of business endured hardship from the onset of the pandemic, but we knew leisure and hospitality would be hit especially hard,” NMSBDC Executive State Director Russell Wyrick said in the release. “By teaming up with the New Mexico Tourism Department, we were able to create a support system for businesses in most need of guidance.”