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City and finance


BY Abigail Healy


WTM 2018: Las Vegas blames 'politically-charged' situation for limited growth

The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority plans to push the city’s universally welcoming attitude and new product as an antidote to the negative effects of the USA’s “politically-charged situation”


Las Vegas is a “welcoming destination whoever you are” and “we are constantly reinventing ourselves”, Heidi Hayes, director of communications at Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

Heidi Hayes, director of communications at the authority, said: “We had 42 million international visitors in 2017 with Canada, Mexico and the UK our top performing markets. However this year visitation is steady or perhaps a little behind.


“There is a lot going on politically and the US doesn’t feel so welcoming from a tourism perspective but I think Las Vegas gets a hall pass as it’s such a unique destination.”


She added that the authority would focus on marketing to destinations with direct flights such as the UK, Germany and Beijing in China as we “expect to see some suffering from the Canadian and Mexican markets in particular due to political ramifications”.


Hayes asserted that Las Vegas is a “welcoming destination whoever you are” and that “we are constantly reinventing ourselves”, adding that guests who visit twice or even three times per year will continually find new experiences.


The millennial market is another a key focus for the authority but Hayes pointed out that it was also looking to “Gen Z”.


“They are our next wave of customers. We market to the over-21s but we are trying to determine their likings and preferences now.”


One such development is the esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor resort where visitors can watch professional gamers in action.


For fans of real life sports fans the new 65,000-seat Las Vegas Stadium, slated to open in 2019/20, is set to become the home of NFL team Oakland raiders and will also host concerts and events.


In hotel development the Monte Carlo has rebranded to Park MGM, which is undergoing a complete renovation. As well as the Park MGM branded resort it features the stand alone NoMad Las Vegas, which opened on October 12.


Elsewhere the first phase of Resorts World Las Vegas from Malaysian-based Genting Group is due to open next year with 3,500 hotel rooms, 22 luxury villas, a retail village, more than 30 restaurants and bars, an aquarium, a live entertainment venue and an observation deck with views of the Strip. Set for completion in 2020, the integrated resort will then add three new hotel towers, a large-scale attraction, a theatre, a convention centre, waterpark, movie theatre and a bowling alley.


Hayes also highlighted key draws of next year’s entertainment roster including a Lady Gaga residency from December 2018, Britney Spears’ return to the city in February 2019 and Aerosmith’s residency from May.

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