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Albuquerque Prepares for Breaking Bad Tourists

August 12, 2013

albuqurqueJolyon Attwooli, The Daily Telegraph, August 12, 2013

The city of Albuquerque in New Mexico is preparing up for a fresh wave of tourists following the release of the new series of Breaking Bad.

Previously, the city mostly attracted visitors for its International Balloon Fiesta. It is now welcoming tourists of a very different ilk, with visitors more likely to be looking for the key locations of the popular, but gritty, television series.

Last July, a bus tour was launched of the city, showing off the sights associated with the programme. The Albuquerque Trolley, which previously had shown off the city's high points such as Route 66 and historic Old Town, now takes tourists to several of the Breaking Bad locations.

Stops include a sweet shop called Candy Lady, which is now doing business selling a ground blue confectionery meant to look like the methamphetamine from the series. Its owner has made the prop meth for the show's last two seasons.

They are not the only local business looking to capitalise on the attention. One donut seller offers "blue sky" donut; while Great Face & Body, a health and beauty store, sells "Bathing Bad," a line of blue bath salts that it promises to "relax away the bad."

There have also been Segway tours that stop at the home of Jesse Pinkman, one of the show’s fictional characters.

However, the image of the city projected by the series has, perhaps unsurprisingly, not met universal approval.

"The topic of the show is not our favourite thing," Megan Mayo Ryan of the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau told the USA Today newspaper . Her organisation did not promote the programme on its website until after the fourth series.

However, the city’s mayor now takes a more relaxed approach. Richard J. Berry cited the city's recent drop in serious crime rates and said: "I am confident that viewers have no difficulty distinguishing fiction from reality."

Other attractions in the city of almost 900,000 residents include the American International Rattlesnake Museum , which boasts the largest collection of live rattlesnakes in the world, and several wineries.

It has also been named one of the best places to retire by Forbes magazine, and one of the top 50 places to live by National Geographic Adventure magazine.

Last year the state of New Mexico received a record 32 million domestic visitors.

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