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Fund, initiated by Chamber President Maxwell Kelch in 1945. Kelch, predicting the end of World War II would bring about a tourism boom that Las Vegas would be ideal to accommodate, envisioned Las Vegas as a product, with the best way to sell it being to advertise it on a large scale. In February 1945, Kelch and the Chamber, with the assistance of the business community, embarked on an ambitious fundraising initiative, the Live Wire Fund, to build the Las Vegas brand. With the funds, major advertising campaigns (including the creation of Vegas Vic and his “Howdy, podner” tagline) and the formation of the News Bureau, among others, catapulted Las Vegas into thousands of national, regional and local markets.
imperative in establishing Las Vegas as the premier destination city in the United States and its place in the internaitional travel and tourism industry today. The News Bureau became part of the LVCVA in 1992, and continues to stream photos and videos through a variety of media, pushing Las Vegas’ message to the international community. Just as Kelch had originally imagined, the News Bureau had helped make Las Vegas a household name. With such a vibrant history behind us and economic recovery firming up, there are new opportunities to seize that will ensure the stability and continued growth of the industry, as well as our place at the forefront of it. “We are projecting to host more than 40 million visitors in 2012, our highest total ever, which will generate $40 billion for our community,” says Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the LVCVA. “We are focusing on three key areas to continue that growth: international visitation; business travelers and special events.” The first of these areas, increasing international tourism, has been assisted by recent measures for visa reform by the federal government. Referring to a recent town hall with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Ralenkotter says, “We were able to reiterate the importance of continuing to streamline the visa approval process and add more nations to the Visa Waiver Program. We also discussed the importance of developing a national transportation plan and approving long-term funding for the FAA and the National Highway Fund.”
hen Las Vegas locals flip through a magazine and see photos of celebrities at an event in Las Vegas, or notice a billboard on the I-15 for an upcoming performance from a headliner, or catch a “What happens in Vegas…” commercial on television, we sometimes overlook that very few cities in the world get the type of exposure that Vegas does. It is its own brand of tourism, its own experience, and unlike any other destination city in the world. It has been a paradigm of the travel and leisure industry since it was first marketed to the rest of the country. Communicating those experiences is the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the Las Vegas News Bureau, which has been on scene to capture the bright lights of Las Vegas and its myriad celebrity appearances, attractions, implosions, concerts and millions of Las Vegas tourists, then convey those eye-catching images to media outlets all over the world.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, incoming Chamber chairman Jay Barrett, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a recent town hall.
By shooting hundreds of thousands of photos since its inception, the Las Vegas News Bureau created a composite of Las Vegas: warm weather, whimsical and fun days, and some of the best dining, entertainment and nightlife to experience in the evening. This was
VISITOR VOLUME 2007-2011
BUSINESS VOICE // MAY 2012
LAS VEGAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
LAS VEGAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
MAY 2012 // BUSINESS VOICE
AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE
The LVCVA is working alongside federal policymakers to give tourism a strong voice in Washington. “Congressman Heck has introduced legislation to improve the visa approval process, which seeks to expand the number of processing centers and the hours of operation for emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India. Congresswoman Berkley has introduced legislation to expand the Visa Waiver Program to include more countries with emerging economies whose business people are eager to more easily attend conventions in the United States and Las Vegas. President Obama recently issued an Executive Order that focuses government efforts on improving travel and tourism to and within the United States,” explains Ralenkotter. To keep the momentum going, Ralenkotter says the LVCVA will continue to work with McCarran International
Airport and international airlines to keep the traveling process as streamlined as possible for passengers. “We contract with 12 offices around the world that market our destination in 75 different countries. One of the ways we can ensure growth in a particular market is to entice non-stop airline service to and from that country. The LVCVA is one of the few destination marketing organizations that work directly with its airport to promote new air service to its destination. Our partnership with McCarran…gives Las Vegas a great advantage over other destinations.” Legislative measures in visa reform will also help with the advancement of business travel in the Las Vegas area. “We need to ensure that those who want to travel here are able to do so conveniently. Once they do travel here, we need to make sure that they have a welcoming and convenient experience entering the country.”
Ralenkotter stresses the importance of making both domestic and international business travel as efficient as possible. “The success of the meetings and convention industry is not only important to Southern Nevada, where it supports 58,000 jobs and generates more than $6 billion for our economy, but it’s a critical part of the economic growth of our country. Nationally, the industry supports more than six million jobs and generates $450 billion. It is important that we continue to promote the value of face-to-face meetings to conducting business. Research shows that every dollar spent on business travel generates $12 in revenue for a company.” The LVCVA campaign, Vegas Means Business, exclusively targets corporate executive offices to show specific executives the offerings of Las Vegas for their meetings. With the addition of the Mob Museum, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and the upcoming grand opening of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport, special events are an area of opportunity that have much to offer for 2012 and in the coming years. As examples of this year’s impressive array of events and projects, Ralenkotter lists the $550 million Project Linq from Caesars Entertainment, the National Hockey League’s year-end awards event at the Wynn Las Vegas, Shania Twain at Caesars Palace, and the Tropicana, MGM Grand, Golden Nugget and El Cortez making significant renovations. With such initiatives in progress and on the horizon, Ralenkotter urges the business community to stay apprised of the developments and what conventions and meetings are coming into town. “We always encourage the community to understand and
support the tourism industry, as it impacts the lives of everyone who lives and works here. The LVCVA recently established a permanent Host Committee chaired by former Mayor Oscar B. Goodman…We encourage everyone to join us as ambassadors for the community, providing a welcoming environment to our major events, showing them that they chose the right city to hold their event or meeting and encouraging other events to come here as well.” For more information on the LVCVA Host Committee and how your business can get involved, email lvhostcommittee@lvcva. com or call 702.892.7691. An easy way for the community to engage and support tourism is by celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week from May 5 - 13. On May 8, the LVCVA is encouraging all of Las Vegas to wear blue in support of the travel and tourism industry. The travel and tourism industry in Las Vegas is continuing to grow, strengthen and diversify, ensuring that Las Vegas retains its standing as one of the leading destinations in the United States and the world. With new projects on the horizon and clearly-defined areas of focus for development and growth, the LVCVA will have plenty to promote and the News Bureau will have plenty to capture. It’s a city that is camera-ready. BV Images courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau. Tourism numbers provided by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The establishment of the Nevada Test Site created an entire cultural movement around the Atomic Era. Las Vegas jumped at the opportunity to market the city as the only peacetime above ground nuclear testing site in the continental United States. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce published schedules of the atomic blasts and the best vantage points to watch them. Press releases extolled the attraction of the blasts, and a special “News Nob” was set up only ten miles away from ground zero of the explosions to give Americans all over the country a front seat to the detonations. National marketing efforts led to hotels and resorts concocting “atomic cocktails,” holding Miss Atomic Blast pageants and offering a variety of atomicthemed souvenirs and services. On May 24, 1957, towards the end of the Atomic Era, Las Vegas News Bureau photographer Don English snapped a shot of a giddy blonde bombshell clad in a bathing suit dotted with cotton “mushroom clouds” and red lipstick. This young lady, a dancer from the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel, was dubbed “Miss Atomic Bomb” and remains one of the city’s most iconic images. Representing an era of glitz and glamour, Miss Atomic Bomb is a classic portrait of Las Vegas and a symbol of pop culture. Join the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as they celebrate the images that built the Las Vegas brand and captured its rich and dynamic history. The Business Power Luncheon on May 9 will commemorate 65 years of the Las Vegas News Bureau and unveil a new Miss Atomic Bomb. Who will she be? Attend the luncheon and be among the first to find out.
BUSINESS POWER LUNCHEON
WHERE: Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall DATE: Wednesday, May 9 TIME: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. RSVP at LVchamber.com or 702.641.5822.