The Las Cruces Convention Center (LCCC) was recently awarded a $250,000 At-Risk Convention Center Relief Program grant from the New Mexico Tourism Department. The grant is set to help the Convention Center expand business development efforts, rebuild the convention and tradeshow sales pipeline, provide sanitation upgrades, and cover other business interruption expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re grateful the New Mexico Tourism Department selected the Convention Center for this grant, since it will allow us to jumpstart the recovery process after such a very challenging year for the tourism industry,” said Visit Las Cruces Director Rochelle Miller-Hernandez. “Conventions and meetings represent a major tourism draw for Las Cruces, so we’re excited to see the Center welcome groups back to Las Cruces.”
The At-Risk Convention Center Relief Program is a temporary grant program created by the New Mexico Tourism Department to provide support to New Mexico convention centers in need of economic relief as a result of being adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, the convention center has hosted a wide range of events, including the New Mexico Student Council Association, which drew in more than 1,000 attendees and generated more than 400 room night stays in local hotels.
“These upgrades and support will help us stay competitive as tradeshows, conventions and in-person meetings start to pick up again,” said Las Cruces Convention Center Manager Bryan Schulz. “It also helps give us an edge over other centers who are all competing for the conventions and meetings looking for meeting space after a year of postponements and cancelations.”
In 2019, Las Cruces had more than 750,000 visitors who spent approximately $70 million in tourism-related expenses, according to data from the City of Las Cruces and the New Mexico Tourism Department. The data also found that, on average, each visitor spent a total of $195 per day on tourism-related expenses such as lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation and transportation.
“We’re so thankful our lawmakers and the New Mexico Tourism Department have helped support our industry throughout the pandemic by launching strategic programs and initiatives to help drive recovery efforts,” Miller-Hernandez said. “Without their support, our recovery efforts would be much slower which would make us much less competitive in the national travel and tourism landscape.”
According to data from the Las Cruces Economic Development Department, there are nearly 6,000 tourism-related jobs in Las Cruces, which make up nearly 12 percent of the local workforce. In 2020, Dona Ana County saw a loss of $685,000 in Lodgers’ Taxes, a year-over-year decrease of 40 percent, and a 15.5 percent year-over-year decrease in Tourism sector Gross Receipts Taxes, according to data from the New Mexico Tourism Department.
To qualify for the grant, the Convention Center had to be an indoor multipurpose, publicly owned convention center with a capacity for 1,500 people or more, that is not part of a hotel, university, or retail mall, and is not primarily a music venue, performing arts center, museum or theater; used primarily as a facility to host large meetings, tradeshows or conventions; experienced a decline in overall operational revenue between 2019 and 2020 of 30 percent or more measured by operational revenue in the second and third quarters of each year; located in a destination that has realized a decline in overall lodgers’ tax revenue between 2019 and 2020 of 30 percent or more; be directly impacted by Governor’s Executive Order No. 2020-004 and is not exempt from that order; have a physical location in the State of New Mexico; and have no current tax liens on record with the New Mexico Secretary of State as of the time of application.
About the Las Cruces Convention Center
The LEED-certified Convention Center is located on 10 acres at the corner of University Avenue and Union Avenue in Las Cruces, encompasses more than 55,000 square feet of meeting space and features an Exhibit Hall offering 17,236 square feet of column-free, carpeted exhibit space.
The Convention Center has 10 state-of-the-art meeting rooms for small meetings or breakout space; an 8,950 square-foot-Ballroom, which is ideal for Weddings, Quinceañera’s, or Special Events; and over 7,100 square feet of indoor Pre-Function Space and 12,000 square feet of outside pre-function space located adjacent to many of the meeting rooms.
The Las Cruces Convention Center offers amenities such as onsite professional audio/visual services, an event specialist assigned to each event, an executive chef and full catering team, and marketing and public relations services. The Convention Center has also implemented a comprehensive safety and sanitation operating plan for events that helps to ensure the safety of staff, organizers, and attendees. For more information, visit: www.MeetInLasCruces.com or call (575) 526-0100.