Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Travel Promotion Act Is Here. It Can Really Help. Oh Yes, and Harry Reid Delivers Again.

Last week, President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act into law. I know I usually don't give Johnny Casino much credit for anything, but at least he was of use this time in sponsoring it. And of course, Harry Reid did all the heavy lifting over these last few months to make it all happen.

And today, The Strip's big players are feeling quite good about the prospect of even more foreign tourists visiting Las Vegas.

Las Vegas tourism officials believe the 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.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter, resort industry leaders and members of the organization's board took a few moments at the outset of Tuesday's scheduled directors meeting to praise the act and Nevada's congressional delegation for pushing its passage.

"The one bright spot we've seen in the past few years has been the interest from international visitors," said MGM Mirage Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle, who is involved with much of the casino company's overseas visitation. "This act will help."

Under the legislation, signed into law Thursday 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 fee is .002 percent of what an international traveler spends on their trip," Ralenkotter said. "Many countries have entry and exit fees so the United States is doing what the rest of the world has been doing."

So how exactly will this help us? The LVCVA calc'ed it out and presented these estimates.


Estimated benefits of the Travel Promotion Act

increase in international visitation to 20 percent of the total visitation

1.8 million
new international visitors to Las Vegas

new jobs

So do you now see why all those Strip casinos posted "Thank You, Harry Reid!" messages on their electronic billboards? We badly need the tourists, and this will enable the US to do more outreach to bring more travelers into the US. And since Las Vegas is increasingly becoming more of an international destination, this can really help us market ourselves around the world.

Tourist marketing had previously been left just to local authorities (like LVCVA) and private companies. But now, we'll have the full weight of the US of A behind us!

And once again, the radical right teabagger looney tunes don't know what to say as Harry Reid delivers Nevada yet another needed lifeline. :-)

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