Black Meetings and Tourism

Nov/Dec 2011

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LAS VEGAS TOURISM MARKET EXPANDING • Room tax revenue up 16.3% through Q3 2011 • Average daily room rate up 10.7% through Q3 2011 • Convention attendance up 9.9% through Q3 2011 • Introduction of Convention Center renovation plan in Q1 2012 TheLasVegas tourismindustry continues to showsigns of a steady recovery,with officials forecasting 39 million visitors to the destination in 2011,only the second time in history theywill reach thatmark. Through the third quarter of 2011, Las Vegas has experi- enced 19 consecutive months of growth in visitor volume and the average daily room rate. Occupancy at LasVegas proper- ties has increased more than 4 points to 85.2 percent, more than 20 points ahead of the national average. "After a year and a half of steady growth, we can say with confidence the tourism industry in Las Vegas is in recovery," said Tom Collins, Clark County commissioner and chairman of the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Convention and VisitorsAuthority (LVCVA). "We expect the growth we have seen to continue in 2012." Today, the tourism industry directly employs 263,300 residents of Southern Nevada. Since November of 2009, during a time when leading economic indicators were largely bearish on the LasVegas econo- my, 15,800 jobs have been generated by the industry, boosting sector employment by 6.4 percent. "The improvements seen in the Las Vegas tourism industry as a whole are consistent with what we are experiencing at MGM Resorts," said Charles Bowling, presi- dent and COO ofMGM Resorts' Mandalay Bay and an LVCVA board member. "We have a positive outlook on the continued growth of themarket in LasVegas." Due to the strength of the tourism economy, the LVCVA developed a three- year business plan that outlines aggressive and cutting-edge strategies to further expand the Las Vegas tourism market. The recently introduced plan promotes growth by targeting key market segments, specifically international and business travel. The Destination Innovation and Leadership Plan includes a commitment to double sales, public relations, and marketing efforts overseas – targeting Brazil and China for their strong emerging economies and the grow- ing spending power of their middle classes. International travelers, who typically stay longer and spend more than domestic travelers, represent the largest potential growth market for Las Vegas. International travelers make up 18 percent of overall visitation in Las Vegas. The goal is to increase the market share to 30 percent over the next decade. "The economic conditions over the past three years required a flexible marketing strategy that could be adjusted as frequently as week-to-week; however, with the recovery having taken hold, we can now return to long-term strategy development," said Rossi Ralenkotter, LVCVA president/CEO. "The overall strength of the Las Vegas tourism industry provides the opportunity to develop new markets and invest in our facilities." The LVCVA has committed $5 million in aesthetic and functional enhancements to the Las Vegas Convention Center. These immediate, short-term renovations will complement the development of the Las Vegas Convention Center District improvement plan for the entire campus and area surrounding and leading to the convention center. The plan will maintain the competitive position of Las Vegas as the No. 1 trade show destination in North America and be introduced in the first quarter of 2012. •Other elements of the three-year strategy include: • Launching comprehensive travel research in the major international markets of Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, and the emerging market of Brazil • Increasing airline lift by hosting promi- nent industry events such as Interline 2012 and Routes 2013 • Launching consumer advertising cam- paigns in additional internationalmarkets •Leveraging tourismindustry leadership positions to influ- ence travel policy Black Meetings & Tourism November/December 2011: 29

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