Daily Archives: May 18, 2009

Las Vegas Tourism Industry Faces Tough Times

The $231.2 million budget for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority – the group charged with the responsibility for attracting visitors to Las Vegas – will be punctuated by 12 months of spending cuts, a hiring freeze and ban on employee overtime. 

“We’ve had to adjust in ways we’d never dreamed of,” said board member and MGMG Mirage executive Chuck Bowling, in a board of directors meeting last week. 

The loss of $65 million from room tax is creating challenging budget choices, which is 11 percent smaller than the budget for the 2009 fiscal year. 

The authority will save $23 million in the upcoming year as a result of a decision to suspend work on a proposed $890 million renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center.   

It will save an additional $2.4 million on salaries, wages and benefits across all departments, thanks in large part to a current hiring freeze that covers 50 open positions and tight overtime restrictions. 

Their advertising budget is not immune from the axe, as the authority shaved $3.3 million, leaving a budget of $86.5 million to advertise Las Vegas to the world. 

Declines are expected to become less steep in September, which will be one year since the Las Vegas economy went into a nose dive.

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Indy 500 in the Pink, Features Las Vegas Owner

SamSchmidtPink is the new red at the Indy 500 this year for an Indy race car owned by Sam Schmidt, right, of Henderson, Nevada. 

AlexLloydSchmidt’s driver for the pink car is an Englishman named Alex Lloyd, left, – aka Pink Lloyd – and the No. 99 HER car will start in the middle of the fourth row of the starting  grid with an impressive four-lap average qualifying speed of 222.622 mph. 

Pink isn’t a new to the venerable Brickyard.  In 1955 Bob Sweikert drove a pink car into victory lane.  Thirty years later, Emerson Fittipaldi, the two-time Indy winner, made his 599 debut in a pink car.  Recently, Jeff Ward drove an Aerosmith-sponsored car that was painted pink mostly to call attention to the rock band’s song of the same name. 

Schmidt, who has been coming to Indianapolis as a driver and car owner since 1996, said he never envisioned that Lloyd would qualify for the first day.  Nor did he anticipate the torrent of publicity the pink car would receive. 

The care was painted pink at the request of sponsor HER – Healthy Energy Revitalizer, an energy drink for women.  On race day, HER models will be strutting around the Gasoline Alley pits in skimpy pink uniforms in classic Las Vegas tradition that will make Lloyd’s look pale by comparison. 

Think Pink when watching the Indy 500.

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