LVCVA chief outlines major tourism projects at governor’s summit
When a McCarran International Airport official told the Governor’s Global Tourism Summit on Nov. 13 that El Al’s launch of direct service between Tel Aviv and Las Vegas earlier this year was a Christmas gift for the region, Steve Hill couldn’t resist: “[It] was probably a Hanukkah present, not a Christmas present.”
Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (which produces Las Vegas Newswire), elaborated on the close relationship LVCVA has forged with McCarran to draw more air traffic, which benefits the whole state. Hill addressed the issue during the summit at the Plaza Hotel.
“The LVCVA’s partnership with McCarran is unique around the country,” Hill said. “Destination marketing organizations and airports really don’t work in as formal a partnership as we do in any major city. It has paid dividends for Las Vegas. It has allowed us to combine our resources to bring flights.”
[WATCH: Scroll to bottom to view “Vegas Changes Everything” ads]
In addition to handling steady growth of passenger traffic, McCarran is consistently atop J.D. Power and Associates’ mega airport customer satisfaction surveys, Hill noted. Excellent customer service at the airport sets the tone for most visitors’ trips to Las Vegas, he said.
The three-day summit, which was held Nov. 12-14 and was organized by the Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada.com), brings members of the tourism industry together to discuss issues and strategies to draw more visitors to the Silver State.
Spreading the benefits of tourism across the entire state was emphasized. “When every place in Nevada is healthy, it’s great for everybody in Nevada. We’ve had north-south battles, rural-urban battles in the state over the years and predominantly, those are stirred up because one portion of the state is doing better than the other,” Hill said. “It is important that we all serve everybody throughout the state to make that happen.”
Hill went on to highlight other “presents” to visitors and the tourism industry for the summit’s audience of almost 300 participants:
- Las Vegas Convention Center expansion. When completed for CES 2021, the construction will enlarge the center to 4.5 million square feet, including 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space and 450,000 square feet of meeting space. “We’re excited about it,” Hill said. “It is a phenomenal-looking building.”
- Getting around the Convention Center will get much easier with the addition of a $52.5 million underground people mover designed and built by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company. Construction on two mile-long tunnels will begin Nov. 15 and will include three passenger stations. The system has the potential to link to downtown Las Vegas, the Strip and the airport. “This was not only the coolest way to do it, it was by far the least expensive,” Hill said.
- A new advertising campaign devised by R&R Partners, LVCVA’s advertising agency of record, is timed for Thanksgiving, a traditionally slow time of year for Las Vegas tourism. One commercial, titled “Grandma,” focuses on uncomfortable holiday dinner table conversations. The other, “Chaos,” shows frenetic kitchen preparations gone awry. Avoid both with a trip to Las Vegas, the ads coax, because “Vegas Changes Everything.”
- Special events. Allegiant Stadium will host a reimagined Las Vegas Bowl and the Pac-12Conference Football Championship Game in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the NFL Draft is scheduled for Las Vegas April 23-25.
- Finally, Hill noted that eight construction projects representing a $15 billion investment in Las Vegas are scheduled to be completed during 2020-22. They include venues Allegiant Stadium and the MSG Sphere; resorts Circa, Resorts World and Drew Las Vegas; and meeting spaces at Caesars, Wynn and the expanded convention center.
“Las Vegas right now is building 3.5 million square feet of meeting space to add to the 11.5 million we already have,” Hill said. “To put that into perspective, there are only five cities in the United States that have 3.5 million square feet of meeting space. It is a phenomenal jump.”
To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.