World's Most Photographed Event Brings Beauty and Benefit to Local Economy Bank of the West supports Albuquerque's vibrant community through International Balloon Fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With a growing national economy and possibly better weather than in 2011, the 2012 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta taking place October 6 – 14 could generate an economic impact of more than $100 million in direct and indirect spending, with significant benefits to Albuquerque's local economy. An Economic Impact and Guest Research Study conducted in 2011 and 2009 showed that the Fiesta not only generated $90 and $106 million in direct spending those years, but that significantly more than half of those attending came from outside the region. 

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"This is good news for the local economy," said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West. "An event of this prominence attracts visitors from outside the region and generates the level of economic activity that contributes to local merchants and tourism, retail sales and – ultimately – job creation."

Bank of the West is in its second year as the official bank of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, marking over a decade of support for the event.

"We're pleased to support the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the important economic contributions it brings to the people and businesses in our community," said George Stanfield, executive vice president and head of the Southwest Division for Bank of the West. "At the same time, we're proud to be associated with this incredible event that is known around the world. The Balloon Fiesta not only showcases the natural beauty of Albuquerque but also the hospitality and vibrant culture of our community."

The nine-day Balloon Fiesta is the largest ballooning festival in the world, with attendance of approximately of three-quarters of a million visits.  It features spectacular mass ballooning events that have been documented by media from over 50 countries and is known as the most photographed event in the world.  The Fiesta also includes an annual ballooning "race" where participants compete in hydrogen-filled balloons to log the longest distance covered, often traveling more than 1,000 miles in two days. 

About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, $62.7 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.

SOURCE Bank of the West



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