Tourism needs to be a joint effort
There is life outside a casino’s doors. This is a reality most executives have chosen to ignore for the past 70 years.
Times are changing — as evidenced by the seminars at last week’s annual tourism conference in Reno.
“Gaming will become increasingly secondary,” according to Bill Eadington, professor of economics and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.
It was even noted that Reno and Tahoe casinos should follow Las Vegas’ lead when it comes to attracting tourists. Vegas’ opulence may not be what this area and Reno need, but there are lessons to be learned.
World-renowned chefs now dazzle diners on the Strip instead of cooking for them in more refined cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
This is not to say Vegas is without its chain restaurants. There seems to be one on every corner, a few in every strip mall, some even in the casinos. Southern Nevada caters to appetites of all sizes to the gourmands as well as to the burger crowd.
The Reno-Tahoe area is hardly known as a culinary showcase. This is not to speak ill of the restaurants/chefs we do have — it’s just that they are no an incentive for the tourist.
Shopping is another huge draw for travelers to Southern Nevada. There are major department stores in traditional malls and specialty shops within the confines of the casinos. These shops are visible to the casual person strolling through the casino and are well-advertised.
There is also entertainment inside and outside of the casinos.
The last thing we want is for Lake Tahoe or Reno to turn into another Las Vegas. One is plenty. But the powers that be need to look at the successes beyond the gaming tables.
Vegas relies on man-made things to attract people. We have natural wonders to draw people. It is time the casinos embraced the great outdoors.
It was refreshing last week when Skip Sayre, marketing executive at Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe, said he welcomed the adventure tourism travel theme Nevada is touting.
Nevada, and the South Shore in particular, has a variety of activities to capture anyone’s imagination. Gone are the days where there is just the gaming market, just the skiers, just the summer vacationers.
People like to do more than one thing. People are eager to be entertained. It is time the casinos and all tourism entities speak with one voice to draw people to this oasis.
Once people are here we need to let them know what is available. USA Today is distributed to guests at the Marriott. May we be so bold as to suggest the Tahoe Daily Tribune or Action magazine be dropped off instead, especially for casino guests, to tell them everything that is going on in the area.
We all need to be partners in this effort. The Tribune and other South Shore businesses will do their part to help tourists once they are here and to make sure they want to book a return trip. It is the casinos, ski resorts and other groups that need to work in unison to get them here.
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