New NM Data Dashboard shows pandemic pain

by Sharon Niederman
COLFAX — Ahead of a vote in the State Legislature on a $25 million special appropriation for tourism, the NM Tourism Department has released a “data dashboard” showing county-by-county losses due to COVID-19 on a scale from 1-8.  Colfax County’s current measurement is 6.5.

The department’s intention is to educate the public about the state’s tourism losses, and, according to Cody Johnson, Public Information Officer of the department, “To help local decision-makers and the public better understand and visualize the impact of the pandemic.”

According to the dashboard, Colfax County is not as hard-hit as several other counties, nonetheless, it shows critical economic losses.

“The numbers in this data dashboard and the findings from the Tourism Injury Index demonstrate how imperative it is that we invest in tourism recovery that supports every part of our state right now,” says Tourism Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer.

The department has created a measurement of economic pain called the “Tourism Injury Index” that analyzes tourism losses year-over-year 2019-2020 in such variables as dependency on visitor spending, reliance on meetings and conventions, and percentage of short-term rentals compared to traditional lodging properties. This index is expressed in the county-by-county numbers on the map.
The data dashboard is updated weekly on occupancy rates and travel spending, and monthly on leisure and hospitality unemployment.

The data dashboard can be accessed at the Tourism Department’s industry website, https://www.newmexico.org/industry/news/2021-legislative-session/.  Once on that page, scroll down until you see the header “Data and Research” with a map of New Mexico underneath it entitled “Tourism Injury Index Heat Map”.  Click on the arrow bar underneath the map to access all three informative maps about the effects of COVID-19 on tourism.