Las Vegas is the designated epicenter for a mock nuclear explosion planned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA had planned to simulate a nuclear explosion right on the Las Vegas Strip to test for emergency preparedness. But the plan is meeting a lot of opposition from all the key players, including Boyd Gaming, MGM Mirage, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Vistors Authority (LVCVA).
Critics say a mock nuclear explosion should happen at a place where the damage would have a greater impact, like the Hoover Dam. But the actual site selected will be a step-by-step process and the first battle won is moving the exercise away from the Strip and over to Sunset Park.
LVCVA says a flood or earthquake drill would be a better alternative over a nuclear blast drill.
FEMA is continuing to reach out to key stakeholders, including state and local officials, to receive their input on site preferences.
The exercise is scheduled for May 17, 2010 and is expected to bring 10,000 people to Las Vegas.
At a time when companies are scaling back travel and attended costs, a new study shows it pays to invest in travel. It’s not only a win for those businesses, but a win for Las Vegas, which banks on those travel dollars.
Las Vegas is not only the entertainment capital of the world, but it has long been the top destination for conventions, meetings, and trade shows which brings in an estimated $8 billion annually. That is until now.
“When economy took a dip and there was some bashing of meetings by some federal officials, it really hurt Las Vegas,” said Cathy Tull with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association.
Las Vegas saw a 26-percent drop in convention travelers this year compared to last. But there’s hope things will soon turn around, thanks to a new study.
Adam Sacks of Oxford Economics, a global research firm, has established a clear link between business travel and business growth. “For every dollar a company spends on business travel, incrementally that drives $12.50 in revenue and almost $4 in profits,” he said.
The study simply states that business travel will stimulate the American economy. The study also points out that for the average U.S. business that does not travel in the first year sees a 17-percent drop in profits.
And that’s not a chance business owners like Mike Weeks gamble on. “When you specialize like I do in personal injury attorneys and you are looking for the premiere firms, you have to go where they go,” he said. Weeks owns an advertising company and is in Las Vegas for a four-day convention to network and stimulate business– which is what the LVCVA says corporations should keep doing in this economy.
An $890 million planned Las Vegas Convention Center renovation that was once deemed to be vital for the Las Vegas tourism industry and economy is very likely to be put on official hold.
On Thursday, the LVCVA said they would seek to suspend the project at least to the middle of 2010.
LVCVA chairman and Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman called the delay practical, sighting the declining room tax revenue in Clark County, the authority’s primary income source, and other economic declines.
The original convention center expansion proposal called for dramatic upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s façade and common spaces. It would have increased the gross square footage from 3.2 million square feet to 3.8 million square feet that would have increased critical high demand convention areas including available meeting spaces, restaurants, food service, and taxi spaces.
Jeremy Aguero of the economics research firm Applied Analysis said the suspension is an unfortunate reflection of the state of the economy. In 2007, he prepared a report that said without improvements to the convention center, Las Vegas would lose $5 billion in convention-related economic activity.
Las Vegas is the nation’s top location for trade shows and conventions. It hosts 44 of the nation’s top 200 conventions and tradeshows, according to Tradeshow Week magazine. Orlando is a distant second with 24.
Goodman says he’s hopeful that work on the convention center renovation can resume in 2010.