Covering All Bases: Developing and Marketing Gallup

12 May 2023

News Categories, Press Release

Housing and tourism are key issues driving community and economic development in Gallup and the surrounding region. The City of Gallup recognizes how housing and tourism impact the regional economy, and it has a team which works closely together and with partner organizations for this important work.

Economic development hinges on several key factors, including housing availability, infrastructure, and zoning. The work to support existing businesses, entrepreneurship and development is carried across city departments, such as Planning and Development, Public Works, and those overseeing utilities, especially electricity and water. City officials recognized that housing is a vital component of economic development, and in 2022, the City Council passed a resolution declaring a housing emergency in Gallup.

Housing is also identified as a priority in city planning documents. This issue led to the creation of the Community and Economic Development office and the hiring of its manager, Tammy Parker. “Unless people have a place to live, it is difficult to bring in new businesses or expand,” Parker said. “The lack of available housing in our community is a complex issue, but we have a team of great people working hard to address it.”

Parker began with the city in December 2022 and has spent much of her time studying the issue, working with local organizations and developers and trying to coordinate efforts around the community. She found that fewer than 70 homes have been built in Gallup in the last 10 years. Infrastructure and soil issues also limit development in some areas. She is working with local and state housing officials to find more resources to support development in the community.

Financing and rehabilitation programs are available in some situations, and Tammy is able to help connect homeowners and developers to those resources. She also has specific housing interests, like promoting downtown housing, which is identified as a goal in the 2021 updated Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Plan developed by the city and its downtown partners.

“Various programs exist to support housing, but sometimes people are not aware or they might feel intimidated by the paperwork and process,” she said. “I want people to know I am here to help and just a phone call away.” She can be reached at (505) 863-1337 or

In addition to housing, another key aspect of economic development work by the city is promoting Gallup and the region as a destination for tourists. This is also a complex job with many moving pieces, but there is no shortage of events and locations in the area to promote. Matt Robinson, Tourism and Marketing Manager for the city, is tasked with marketing the community and trying to draw in as many tourists as possible to spend money locally and stay in local lodging. He has been on the job since November 2022. “Our office uses a regional approach to promote tourism, and there is nearly an endless supply of incredible places, people and events to visit in and around Gallup,” he said. “Gallup has such a compelling mystique and beauty that lends well to promoting the community.”

Gallup is a gateway to the region and state with its prominent transportation hubs, including Interstate 40, the railroad, and Gallup Municipal Airport, which offers daily direct flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The community also has a significant number of lodging available, and lodger’s taxes paid for most overnight stays funds the city’s tourism promotion efforts.

“People may not realize that tourism promotion is funded by a tax applied when people stay at local hotels, motels and other lodging,” Robinson said. “In a sense, the tourism office is self-sustaining and funded almost entirely by visitors who stay in our community, so we can use the taxes collected from previous visitors to help draw in more visitors.”

Due to the rural nature of the surrounding area, Gallup is the perfect homebase for day trips or excursions around the region. It is easy to use to plan trips around the area with each night ending in Gallup for a wonderful dinner, shopping, and a relaxing stay in local lodging. This homebase approach is especially true with the plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation in and around Gallup. The community is host to several annual outdoor recreation events, such as mountain biking, motocross, and others. Gallup is an ideal place to stay, buy supplies, and relax in between adventures at world class outdoor attractions, like the High Desert, Zuni Mountain, or Red Rock Park trail systems. See the Visit Gallup website for more information about outdoor recreation opportunities, including the city’s Mentmore Climbing Area and OHV/ATV Park.

Also, other top priorities for the Tourism Office focus on marketing the significant cultural assets in the community. These assets include internationally known art, jewelry, trading, and events, like the annual Gallup InterTribal Indian Ceremonial. Also vital to marketing efforts is Route 66, or “The Mother Road,” and its 100th anniversary coming in 2026. These cultural influences are foundational to the community and an important component of promoting the area. To contact Matt Robinson, call 505-863-1227 or e-mail


Column Submitted by Tammy Parker, City of Gallup Community and Economic Development Program and Matt Robinson, Tourism and Marketing Department

Tammy Parker has a background in public service and a master's degree in Landscape Architecture, with research in building resilient communities. Prior to working for the City of Gallup, she worked for over eight years with the Pueblo of Zuni as their Environmental Specialist. Her background in design taught her to imagine creative solutions to difficult issues.

Matt Robinson has been a New Mexico resident for nearly 20 years and hails from a background working in journalism, government, non-profit boards of directors, and he served a term as a school board member in Deming. He has an associate’s degree in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a double major in Business Administration and Philosophy (Pre-Law) at the University of New Mexico.