ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hundreds of thousands of Balloon Fiesta goers will spend the morning looking up, then spend the day visiting restaurants and stores across Albuquerque. Businesses said Balloon Fiesta is their Superbowl.
The excitement for this year’s Balloon Fiesta is heating up. As nearly 900,000 people from across the world flock to Albuquerque for the city’s prime event, local businesses are preparing for the masses. “We’re ready to give the best service ever,” said El Pinto restaurant owner Jim Thomas.
Thomas said Balloon Fiesta is one of their busiest times of the year and the restaurant goes all out. “We have the chile roasting out in front, mariachis, it will be a real fiesta,” said Thomas. “Scenery for the new chile crop from Hatch just hanging out there in front, it’s just a beautiful red chile we have from Hatch.”
It’s local restaurants and businesses like El Pinto that thrive from Balloon Fiesta. “We’re hitting a max occupancy at that time,” said Visit ABQ President Tania Armenta. “Filling our hotels, filling our Air BnBs, filling our businesses.”
According to a study by the Garrity Group, the event brings in over $170 million dollars to the Albuquerque metro. Fiesta goers spend about $40 million dollars on hotels and lodging and spend over $16 million at restaurants.
“Definitely restaurants, hotels, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft drivers that are having a tremendous amount of business during that time period,” Armenta said.
It’s safe to say the event is really good for business, especially for local business.
In all, businesses are happy to represent New Mexico for everyone who visits. “It’s a pleasure to please customers pallets,” said Thomas. “My grandmother use to say ‘full stomach, happy heart.”