Reno-Sparks tourism agency cuts staff, budget |

Reno-Sparks tourism agency cuts staff, budget

RENO, Nev. – The principal agency promoting tourism in the Reno-Sparks area said Tuesday that it was being forced to make more budget cuts and layoffs due to declines in revenue from hotel room taxes.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority said that seven more full-time employees have been laid off as part of a plan to cut its budget by nearly $1 million.

“It is always difficult and painful,” the authority’s CEO, Ellen Oppenheim, said about the layoffs. “We are talking about good people who worked hard and care. It is very hard to make the kinds of decisions we have to make in this situation.”

The cuts and layoffs come after the authority laid off 45 full-time workers last year as part of a $7.5 million budget cut. It also has scheduled mandatory one-week furloughs for all employees, with the majority to be taken during the week of Christmas.

Approximately 73 percent of the budget cuts came from operational reductions and 27 percent from staff reductions, Oppenheim said.

Authority officials said room tax revenues dropped $6.6 million or about 11 percent this year during the traditionally strong summer months compared to the same three months a year ago. It’s part of a trend that has seen the Reno-Lake Tahoe area record 11 consecutive years of declining visitorship, according to the RSCVA.

Washoe County’s gambling revenue also has declined the past 27 months in a row, according to the state Gaming Control Board.

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