Inside the Basket - Tania Armenta, Balloon Fiesta Board Member
Tania Armenta is the President and CEO of Visit Albuquerque and one of Balloon Fiesta’s newest Board of Directors.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, she shares more about how she became involved with the organization, the economic impact Balloon Fiesta has on Albuquerque and her favorite tips for those planning to visit Albuquerque for the event.
1. Give a brief overview of your Balloon Fiesta role and how you came to be involved with the organization.
I’ve been involved with Balloon Fiesta for 25 years, which is how long I have worked for Visit Albuquerque, the official destination marketing organization for the city. My interaction with Balloon Fiesta has ranged from year-round promotion of the event, advertising campaign development with the Balloon Fiesta staff and contractors, hosting high-caliber travel media and clients on-field, local media relations, social media management, the on-field presence of a Visitor Information Center and free photo op inside an 8-foot photo frame along with leading important industry conversations and advocacy efforts to ensure the event’s success.
2. What are you most looking forward to, serving on the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors?
I look forward to working with the board, staff and others in the city and state to ensure the event continues to be successful and appeals to visitors of all ages.
3. You are the President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque, the organization responsible for promoting Albuquerque. How does Balloon Fiesta play a role in making Albuquerque a premier destination for travelers? How does it economically strengthen the city and provide opportunities for those in the community?
We are fortunate that Balloon Fiesta calls Albuquerque home. Albuquerque is known throughout the world for this event, and it gives us a year-round marketing opportunity as the “Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World.” Few other places in the world are identified so strongly with such a signature event. And the event has such a significant economic impact on the city and state. Much of that economic generation is new money contributing positively to our overall quality of life as residents. Tourism is a $2 billion industry in Albuquerque and supports over 43,000 jobs, and as the largest visitor event in the state and the largest festival event of its kind, there’s no better time to see the power and importance of the industry than during Balloon Fiesta.
In addition, as residents, Balloon Fiesta brings so much joy and color to each October.
4. What is your favorite Balloon Fiesta memory?
It’s hard to pick just one memory over the 25 years. I do love that first morning of Balloon Fiesta each year. Once the balloons are up, I find myself spending time reflecting on how special the event is and how lucky we are to witness it annually. It’s also fun to walk along the Balloon Fiesta launch field and hear the “oohhs” and “aahhs” of visitors. And I am consistently amazed at the number of photos I take each year.
Last year, it was extra special to celebrate 50 Balloon Fiestas and take in all the stories and history of the event. The pioneering spirit of Sid Cutter and others along with the tenacity to build the event over 50 years is remarkable. And we were thrilled to debut the “Red or Green?” Visit Albuquerque balloon, which is sponsored and operated by Rainbow Ryders.
5. What three tips do you have for those planning to travel to Albuquerque, for the 51st Balloon Fiesta?
- Plan early, especially booking accommodations and some of the key activities.
- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all offer great events and there are some benefits to being in the city during that time. It can be a great value option for travelers, and I love taking in the ascensions on Monday and Tuesday followed by the flying events. Flight of the Nations on Wednesday is also a very special morning with the pilots representing many different countries.
- We have so many new experiences and places to dine, shop and play in Albuquerque, so be sure to plan time to enjoy all Balloon Fiesta has to offer along with other experiences throughout the city and state.
Use this back button to return to the full list. If you want to preserve your filtered list, use your browser's back button and resubmit the form.