LV hosts tourism conclave

Nov 20, 2007 6:11 AM

A high-powered panel of CEOs from the world’s largest casino-resorts will share insight and expertise about Las Vegas’ exploding growth during the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Dec. 12-14 at Caesars Palace resort and casino in Las Vegas.

Terry Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE; Gary Loveman, CEO, chairman, director and president of Harrah’s Entertainment; and William Weidner, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., will describe challenges and opportunities confronting Nevada, which for nearly two decades reigned as the nation’s fastest growing state.

"We’ve gathered some of the best minds in the hotel industry to sit side by side and candidly share their approach to the current explosion of growth in southern Nevada," said Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki, chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which produces the conference. "This panel will set the stage for what promises to be an information-packed conference aimed at staying abreast of industry challenges and trends and attracting more visitors to our state."

The General Assembly opens Dec. 13 with welcome remarks by Gov. Jim Gibbons and Krolicki and a keynote session by Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, on the current political climate facing the gaming industry.

Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Ellen Oppenheim, CEO of Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, will address managing growth through marketing.

Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation; Jacob Snow, president of the Clark County Regional Transportation Commission; and Randy Walker, aviation director at McCarran International Airport, will explain how Las Vegas is meeting the infrastructure challenges of water, transportation and air service.

Commission Director Tim Maland will present the commission’s new "Neon to Nature" advertising campaign during the afternoon program on Dec. 13. The award-winning ad campaign features "icon" entertainers Elvis, the Blue Man Group, Wayne Newton and costumed Las Vegas showgirls in unexpected outdoor settings, such as fly-fishing (Newton), kayaking (Blue Man Group), mountain biking (Elvis), and skiing and golfing (showgirls).

"The idea of these eye-catching ads is to show that Nevada has much to offer outside of Las Vegas," Maland said. "We want potential visitors around the world to know that our state is the place to find both neon and nature — dramatically beautiful landscape with stimulating outdoor recreation that’s close to resort hotels and exciting nightlife."

Conference workshops will include "Group Sales Make Good Business," maximizing profits; "Turn Green into Green," discovering green tourism; "Building a Strong Workforce in Time of Demand," how to attract qualified employees; "Social Media Optimization," how the growing influence of so-called social media impacts marketing and public relations; "Domestic Travel Trends/Niche Markets," the latest trends such as "girlfriend getaways"; the "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Market," a compelling business case for courting this $65 billion segment of the travel industry; and "Online Customer Service —Consumer Generated Content," how to monitor and respond to negative online comments that hurt profits.

Concluding the day’s activities, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will sponsor a reception for conference attendees at which the state will honor Grammy award-winning international superstar Celine Dion as Nevada Entertainer of the New Millennium during a special ceremony.

Speakers will include Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, on legislation he recently introduced to boost international travel, H.R. 3670, "Improving Public Diplomacy Through International Travel Act"; Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry of America, on marketing America internationally; Philip Wolf, CEO of PhoCusWright, on how "Travel 2.0 and Long Tail Economics" is reshaping the travel, tourism and hospitality industries; and a travel industry leadership roundtable on "Key Trends and Strategies for Online Travel Today and Tomorrow."

Workshops will include "The Why and How of Mobile," the newest development in Internet marketing; "Leisure/Wholesale Market," on the future wave for online wholesalers; "Vacation Travel Partnered with Volunteer Service," how the definition of vacation is changing to include more than just rest and relaxation; and "Get Smart with Your BlackBerry," how to use mobile technology efficiently.

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