Will Better Call Saul give a second shot in the arm to Albuquerque tourism?
New Mexico locals hope the Breaking Bad spin-off about Walter White’s criminal lawyer will offer a further boost to their travel industry
Since Breaking Bad hit our screens, the small town of Albuquerque in New Mexico has been inundated with fans, who have travelled across the globe to see where Walter White and Jesse Pinkman got up to their crystal meth-dealing antics. Now locals hope spin-off series Better Call Saul will increase tourism further.
Incredibly, tourism in New Mexico has thrived as a direct result of being labelled a fictional crystal meth haven. Cult series Breaking Bad follows a chemistry teacher who starts cooking drugs to solve his financial problems, and local businesses have cashed in on the show’s success by offering a range of bizarre ventures including 'cooking' classes, filming location tours and selling bags of blue rocks (made of sugar) in sweet shops.
And Albuquerque folk are hoping spin-off series Better Caul Saul, which follows the misadventures of Walter White's criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, will bring more visitors to town.
Breaking Bad finished 15 months ago, but “[fans] can't get enough of the show because it's gone,” explained Frank Sandoval from Albuquerque’s Breaking Bad RV Tours. “What's the next best thing to do? Go to the city where it was filmed," he explained to AFP, “Breaking Bad is going to be around a long time, especially with... Better Call Saul. That's going to keep it alive."
Since the series, films including The Lone Ranger and Transcendence, starring Jonny Depp, Sweetwater, starring Ed Harris, The Host, with Max Irons and Saoirse Ronan, and The Avengers, starring Robert Downey Jr, Tom Hiddleston and Scarlett Johansson, have been filmed in the state. The TV and movie industry has brought tens of thousands of jobs to the local area and boosted the local economy.
"Breaking Bad really put New Mexico on the map, for TV and movie producers,” explained New Mexico Film Office director Nick Maniatis to AFP.
"It brought the sense that big productions, television production can be done in our state... our [film and TV] crew is as good as it gets. They can go up against LA or New York any time, any day of the week… We'll always have 'Breaking Bad,” he explained, but added: "I'm moving on to Better Call Saul."
Better Call Saul will air in February 2015. Watch the trailer here: