Nevada sends silver Tahoe’s way |

Nevada sends silver Tahoe’s way

Susan Wood
The Nevada Commission on Tourism is donating $1,800 to America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, an annual 72-mile ride around Lake Tahoe.

With the Silver State wearing a Santa hat this time of year, South Shore-oriented tourism marketing groups have secured nearly $32,000 to promote lake business in 2005.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism approved nearly $500,000 in rural grants last week, bringing the total for the year to $1.5 million. It requested $2 million from the state for 2006, grants program manager Larry Friedman said Monday.

Rural tourism grants are intended to enable Nevada’s smaller communities to promote attractions through Web sites, advertising, trade show participation and other materials.

“These grants have helped to promote hundreds of events and attractions that draw visitors to rural Nevada communities and sustain local economies,” said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, the commission chairwoman. “Rural tourism grants often make the difference between smaller communities with limited budgets being able to afford promotional activities and NCOT is proud to be able to assist.”

The money has to be spent by June and that should be no problem. The commission had no shortage of groups vying for dollars in the coming year.

On the South Shore, America’s Most Beautiful Ride – which takes place every June – received $1,800, while a Lake Tahoe cooperative of casino sales managers at Stateline along with Embassy Suites scored $10,000 to put on outside retreats for meeting and convention planners.

The Lake Tahoe Wedding & Honeymoon Association plans to use its $4,000 to add an additional trade show to the seven it currently promotes to bolster the lake as a favorite spot for tying the knot.

Otherwise, association President Derek Tarpey – a disc jockey by trade – said the No. 1 destination has remained Las Vegas.

“We want to generate more than the bride and groom,” he said. Tarpey says the average wedding brings 21 guests over a 3 1/2-night period to the lake.

Cultivating the destination visitor has been the focus of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority – which specifically got a commitment from the commission for $7,000 to conduct international marketing efforts.

“(International marketing is) not a prime focus, but it’s important,” LTVA Executive Director Patrick Kaler said. “Heavenly has been carrying the torch for us.”

The ski resort has emphasized international marketing with personnel focused on the effort, including its star ambassador Glen Plake who traveled to Europe recently.

Kaler said LTVA’s money is earmarked to participate in and host trade events ranging from the Travel Industry of America’s International Powwow to the California Travel Market’s annual conference scheduled at Embassy Suites Feb. 14-17.

The needs and plans of the recipient groups cover the map.

Erin Casey, associate director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, said her group is receiving $5,000 to pay for a little more than half the printing costs to put out about 10,000 brochures.

“(The old one) is too wordy. There aren’t enough graphics,” Casey said.

The pamphlets will focus on trail etiquette, access points and the role of the association.

“They’re important. Some people don’t even know who built the trail,” she said.

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