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Tourism promotion offers prizes for best travel stories

A new state tourism promotion encourages people to go beyond just putting their New Mexico vacation and other travel stories in their own scrapbooks, but share them as part of an online contest that will earn someone a $5,000 prize, as well as offer weekly prizes of gas cards. The New Mexico Tourism Department’s summer promotion is called New Mexico True Stories. The contest encourages people to travel the state this summer and share their stories for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize. Gov. Susana Martinez kicked off the promotion last week at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in Albuquerque. The event coincided with National Travel and Tourism Week.

The top 20 stories entered in the contest — as determined by online voting — will be featured in the state’s 2014 Vacation Guide.

New Mexico True Stories is part of the New Mexico True campaign, which was launched last spring in Texas, Colorado, and Arizona as a way to try to draw tourists to New Mexico.

“At the Tourism Department, we are always thinking of creative ways to inspire people to travel the state and fall in love with New Mexico,” said Tourism Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson. “By sharing your stories, you are giving great insight to the hundreds of people who visit our website in search of adventure and authentic experiences.”
Entries are being accepted through Aug. 4. Voting began Monday and ends Aug. 18.

The contest asks people, as they travel the state, to take photos, then visit the contest website (www.newmexico.org). There, they will be asked to upload photos and answer a few trip-related questions such as describing a favorite meal and outdoor adventure, as well as provide an “insider’s tip.”

The top vote-getter will win the $5,000 prize. During each of 12 weekly prize periods, the story with the most votes will win a $450 gas card. The prizes are sponsored by various businesses.

Throughout the state, advertisements on billboards, TV, newspapers and the Internet are asking “Are you New Mexico True?” and directing people to the Tourism Department’s website to share their stories.

“We know New Mexicans are all very proud of the place we call home,” said Gov. Martinez. “So now is the time to share your insider’s tips and great undiscovered treasures.”

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