According to data from Student Flights, an online airfare booking agency, ticket sales from Australia to New Mexico grew by 900% between 2013 and 2014. The growth in tourism in New Mexico overall is attributed to the hit show, Breaking Bad.
Set and filmed in Albuquerque, the state’s capital, Breaking Bad ran from 2008-2013, and generated international interest in a Southwestern city formerly better known for its hot-air balloon festival. The Lonely Planet features a do-it-yourself guide to a Breaking Bad tour and the New Mexico state tourism website even has a page dedicated to show informing you of official tours and the show’s impact on Albuquerque.
According to the New Mexico Tourism Department’s 2013 Annual Report, international visitors to the state are representing younger age brackets than previous tourists to the state. Younger travelers led to rises in participation in outdoor activities and spending at night clubs. The increased tourism to New Mexico has also caused job growth, with tourism related jobs at an all-time high in 2013.
The most recent data, published in Australia Matters for America, cites that Australian visitors to the United States in 2013 spent about $7 billion dollars overall and $35 million in New Mexico alone. Total spending from tourists in New Mexico was $5.9 billion in 2013, a 2.6% rise from 2011. Although the show ended two years ago, New Mexico hopes to capitalize on its new-found prominence through continued promotional efforts.
Melissa Newcomb is a Project Assistant at the East-West Center in Washington, D.C.