Tag Archives: Las Vegas tourism

Las Vegas Tapped for World Travel and Tourism Summit

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has selected Las Vegas as the host city for its 2011 Global Travel & Tourism Summit, following an endorsement from local tourism organizations. Earlier the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) had voted to invest $1.5 million in the event, which is scheduled for May, 2011.

With heads of industry and government from around the world expected, the Aria Resort & Casino has been selected to host the prestigious event.

WTTC chief executive Jean-Claude Baumgarten told the Associated Press recently the group had selected Las Vegas in part because the city is symbolic of tourism in the United States.

“We cannot choose a better place than Las Vegas,” Mr Baumgarten explained. “The whole economy, all of what we are seeing, all the impacts of travel and tourism on the economy, on jobs, on the future and investment make Las Vegas a better choice.”

Approximately 244,000 people are employed in the leisure and hospitality industry in Las Vegas – more than 30 per cent of Las Vegas’ total work force – according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

The so-called Sin City is famous for gambling as much as tourism.

This year’s WTTC summit is scheduled to begin in Beijing, China on May 25th.

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Passage of Travel Promotion Act aims to spur growth into Las Vegas from international visitors

Las Vegas tourism officials believe the federal Travel Promotion Act legislation that was signed into law last week will lead to a marked growth in international visitors, one of the gaming industry’s few positive market segments in the challenging economic climate. 

Under the legislation, signed into law by President Barack Obama, a program will be created that will allow the United States to advertise the country as a destination for international travelers. It creates a public-private partnership for travel promotion that is partly funded by a $10 fee paid by international travelers. 

The idea for the Travel Promotion Act originated from the 1995 White House Conference on Tourism. It was revived after the economic downturn saw the United States lose some 68 million international visitors, which accounted for losses of $509 million in consumer spending, $32 million in tax revenue and 441,000 jobs, according to a study done by Oxford Economics. 

The same study found the act could potentially draw 1.6 million new international visitors to the United States, which would generate $4 billion in new spending.

Las Vegas tourism officials hope to capture some of those visitors and market separately to potential international visitors as well. 

The convention authority estimated the act would increase international visitation to 20 percent of Las Vegas’ total market share. In addition, while Oxford believes the act will be responsible for creating 40,000 tourism jobs nationally, the convention authority estimated an increase in international visitation could create another 12,000 jobs in Southern Nevada.

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Welcome to Sin City, Mr. President!

With an unprecedented 30-mile radius air traffic prohibition in place (usually it’s half that) during his trip to Las Vegas, costing commercial air tour travel operators thousands of dollars of lost revenue, President Barack Obama remains undaunted, planning to land his Air Force One gas guzzling hog later tonight, marking his second presidential visit to Sin City– you know, the little hideaway berg that encourages corporations to blow their government bailout funds or simply have students waste their college savings on gambling forays. 

Despite having such a notorious moniker, Las Vegas tourism officials have weathered the multiple gaffes and predict a million more visitors in 2010.  Thank you, Mr. President. 

He’ll probably need to bring a strong suit of armor and sharp swords when he speaks Friday for select invitees at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, where his prior barbs were specifically aimed.

His olive branch offering, if you will, will be his quest to seek congressional approval of the Travel Promotions Act- an overseas $4 billion promotion program that could bring more moneyed foreign tourists to Las Vegas.   Morevover, the bill promises it could bring 40,000 new American jobs and $320 million in new federal tax revenue, according to the U.S. Travel Association. 

If that doesn’t stick when the Prez throws it against the wall, his backup plan (or an add-on, depending on crowd rancor) could be to announce the Department of Transportation’s $30 million project for a new Sahara Avenue – one of the most traveled byways in Las Vegas – bus project as part of the multibillion stimulus package. 

But outspoken ex-mob lawyer turned Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will not being rolling the red carpet out.   Goodman remains upset at President Obama. Goodman said he needs to be true to his conscience and, therefore, won’t accept invitations to greet the president of attend any town hall meeting unless he personally gets “some kind of retraction.”  

If you like to be part of this surely politically entertaining event, you can line up for tickets now at Green Valley High School in Henderson for Friday’s 10 a.m. town hall meeting. 

Mr. President, please be sure to enjoy yourself when you’re in the home of sin.  It’s a devilishly fun town.

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Go to Las Vegas- and Go Broke?

A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling mecca and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. 

Speaking about the economy yesterday at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Mr. Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.” 

The economy of Las Vegas, the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination, is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a crack from Mr. Obama a year ago that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city.   The city is still reeling from that comment, trying to keep bookings and revenues up on conventions and other events. 

Mr. Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who is fighting an extremely uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. – a whopping 13 per cent.

Mr. Obama hurriedly dispatched a letter to Mr. Reid. “I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas,” he wrote. 

Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas and an independent, also got into the fray, raising his voice and describing President Obama as “a real slow learner” who has a “psychological hang-up” about Las Vegas. 

Mr. Goodman added that this time an apology from Mr. Obama wouldn’t be enough. “I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot.” 

Last year, Mr. Obama apologized for his prior gaffe and during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas said that it was good to get out of Washington and “there’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week.” 

Repercussions surrounding the current incident are not nearly over.  In a couple of weeks, Mr. Obama is planning another visit to Las Vegas, which surely will cause sparks to fly anew.

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Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas Planning Series of Beyonce Concerts?

It is rumored in media circles that Steve Wynn is presently exploring the possibilities of arranging a string of concerts by popular American Rhythm and Blues (R&B) singer and song writer Beyonce Knowles.  It is further speculated from sources that the agreement amount with Beyonce will be in the tune of $750,000. The number of concerts and durations are not yet decided. 

Wynn Resorts spokesperson Jennifer Dunne reportedly said that the deal is yet to be finalized and contract has not been signed. The association between Beyonce and Wynn Casino started few months back when this year during July 30 and Aug. 2 the singer visited the casino for recording a DVD for her concert. It is said that during her shoots both Wynn and its sister resort Encore saw a huge fan following and increase in number of guests. Soon after this the singer has been spotted too often in the casino.

It is said that Beyonce will be following the footsteps of famous Canadian singer Céline Dion who signed a contract with Caesars Palace casino of Las Vegas few years back. In this she performed in 717 concerts within 5 years and earned a reported $400 million. 

The casino also experienced a huge surge in its popularity and earning during the concerts. It has been observed that fans from faraway places come to watch their favorite singers perform in Las Vegas casinos.

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December Brings Most Monthly Revenue Ever for Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority says this is the busiest December Las Vegas has ever experienced. They expect to see $250 million in non-gaming revenue this month that will bring in over 300,000 tourists. 

The National Finals Rodeo kicked off Thursday night in Las Vegas.  For years, it was the only major event in Las Vegas for the month of December, but that has changed. 174,000 people are predicted to attend the NFR.  The event is expected to bring in $50 million alone in non-gaming revenue. 

Not only is NFR in Las Vegas this week, so is the first ever Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on Sunday which brings World Class  and recreational runners from all around the world, racing down the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip for the first time accompanied by bands all along the route.

Throughout the week there were grand openings of CityCenter properties, which will culminate on Dec. 16 with the opening of the flagship property, Aria Resort.

NASCAR Awards Week with events all this week for an event that was previously in New York for three decades.   Three thousand NASCAR officials alone were in Las Vegas, bringing in an estimated $6 million of revenue.

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Las Vegas’ Rough Road Continues

That potent one-two Las Vegas punch has lost its zing. 

All year long it’s been a hard fought battle, with the bad economy and slashed discretionary spending yielding the crushing blows. 

Adding to the demise, with more than 150,000 hotel rooms and heavily dependent on convention business, the tough times are getting unbearable. 

Fewer people are visiting, let alone spending.  Many casino floors are half-empty during the day. 

Taxi drivers up and down the Strip complain that they wait a long time between pickups. The fares they do get negotiate nearly every rate and no longer tip even minimally. 

Even fewer flights are landing in Las Vegas – US Airways Group Inc. announced last month that it was cutting arrivals in half.  Las Vegas hotels are heavily discounting and are doing anything it takes to lure folks back. 

At the Imperial Palace, rooms are going for $25, $65 on Saturdays. At the Palms Casino Resort, a standard room costs $59, $99 for a studio suite. 

High-end casinos such as Mandalay Bay are offering rooms for about $109.99, with a special two-night-minimum promotion that includes a 50 percent discount on a suite upgrade, a two-for-one House of Blues restaurant voucher, $25 resort credits on food, beverage, or merchandise, and 30 percent off tickets for The Lion King

Las Vegas’ woes are also not a good omen for other casino towns – or tourist destinations in general.  The falloff effect is pronounced and enduring. 

“What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. What happens in Vegas spreads out to all the rest of us,” said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. 

“When Las Vegas greatly lowers its rates, consumers don’t think of it as Vegas being Vegas. They think along the lines, ‘Well then, I should be able to get a good deal anywhere.’ ” 

In September, for the first time since May 2008, the number of visitors to Las Vegas went up year over year – 4.3 percent. But the average daily room rate was down nearly 25 percent, to just over $92 a night. Gambling revenue was down 3.6 percent, the 21st straight monthly decline, according to figures released last week by the city’s convention authority.

All the big casino companies are feeling the pinch. Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Strip, reported a $123 million net loss for the third quarter that ended Sept 30. MGM Mirage, which owns 10 casinos, the most on the Strip, posted a $750.4 million net loss. And Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which owns eight casinos here, had more than a $1 billion net loss. 

Conventions and meetings, which characteristically drive midweek Las Vegas room occupancy, are way off this year. Attendance is down 27.1 percent compared with the same period in 2008; the number of gatherings is down 18.2 percent. 

About 400 meetings were canceled from late 2008 to May, resulting in $166 million lost in nongaming revenue, so says the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

One reason: restrictions on using federal-bailout funds for certain types of corporate travel, said Rossi Ralenkotter, the authority’s president and CEO. The other: Las Vegas’ reputation as a lavish meeting destination. 

The town’s party-hearty image had to be tweaked, said Billy Vassiliadis, chief executive of R&R Partners Inc., the Las Vegas public relations firm that created the “What happens here, stays here” slogan. Its current campaign features high-level executives hard at work in Vegas. 

“We began delivering a much more sober business message and didn’t talk much about the play side,” Vassiliadis said yesterday. “We were dealing with the perception of whether it would be frivolous to hold a meeting in Vegas. Clearly, after the first quarter of the year, executives needed validation and support to come here for a meeting.” 

During a panel discussion last week at the annual Global Gaming Expo, also known as G2E, Ralenkotter said: “Las Vegas [has] worked hard to ensure that the value of face-to-face meetings was better understood. We have also worked hard to attract new business to Las Vegas and have signed 24 new contracts with [trade] shows that have either never been . . . or have not been here in more than five years.” 

G2E seemed to mirror its host town: more subdued, less boisterous. The event drew an estimated 25,000 gambling executives, regulators, slot manufacturers, and suppliers to discuss industry trends and showcase the latest products – down from 26,500 last year. Registered exhibitors numbered 566, down from 724, and the amount of exhibit space used at the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center was 258,600 square feet, down from 335,480 in 2008. 

With the supply of convention visitors dwindling, luring back the leisure traveler became a priority, Jacob Oberman, a casino consultant with Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., said at a recent panel discussion on filling hotel rooms in a down economy. 

“They’re doing this by either giving gaming customers more favorable complimentaries than in the past, increasing their allotment of rooms, and presence with Internet wholesalers such as Expedia, [or] offering creative discount room offers and packages to the general public. 

It appears everyone in Las Vegas, or planning to go there, are cinching their belts a few notches.  It’s not that parites are not happening– it’s just they’re not as lavish or widely participated in as in the past.

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