Tourism seeks boost in Silver State
The Nevada Commission on Tourism will ask Gov. Kenny Guinn’s office for at least $1 million in emergency funding to boost tourism.
Concerned last Tuesday’s terrorist attack may have a devastating effect on Nevada tourism, the commission plans to develop a marketing proposal targeting California and neighboring western states, commission spokeswoman Chris Chrystal said Thursday.
The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority found a 25 percent cancellation rate among hotel bookings last weekend in an informal survey.
“We’re trying to get an emergency marketing campaign going aimed at the regional visitor and the drive-up market,” Chrystal said. Lake Tahoe travel-related businesses rely more heavily on visitors in vehicles, tourism groups say.
The monies for this campaign require consent from the governor and legislative approval through a state finance committee. If approved, the marketing plan would probably involve newspaper advertising, she said.
Guinn’s spokesman Jack Finn wouldn’t venture a guess Thursday of the commission’s chances at getting the money. Finn, who’s leaving the governor’s office this week, said Guinn is gathering information from top officials and will know more next week.
This information may not include state gaming numbers, which are released a month later.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe plans to dovetail its usual marketing plan with additional marketing dollars earmarked for tourism, Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe spokesman John Packer said Thursday. A particular emphasis will be placed on group bookings, an area of business that experienced some cancellations in the past week.
Horizon Casino’s new Marketing Director Bonnie Picker said plans are being discussed, but no solid commitments have been made yet.
Caesars Tahoe’s parent company Park Place Entertainment declined to comment on its marketing plans.
The last time the state delved into its emergency reserve money for the purpose of boosting tourism was during the 1997 New Year’s floods.
Visitation dropped off in the state because “people were afraid we were underwater, which we weren’t,” she said.
“In our darkest days of World War II, we still had to have fun,” Chrystal said.
Still, many tourism groups – including the Lake Tahoe and Tahoe-Douglas visitor authorities – are keeping an eye on the tragedy’s effect on tourism. Fears mount that increased airport security measures and scaled-down flight schedules may keep many people away, even though the Reno/Tahoe International Airport has resumed most of its full schedule by Thursday.
Others have expressed a fear of flying, making the drive-up market a more important component than ever before to tourism dollars in Lake Tahoe.
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