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Reno shares economic fears

May 5, 2008 7:34 PM

by Ray Poirier | Although gaming analysts have focused on problems faced by Las Vegas gaming operators because of the nation’s economic slowdown, similar fears are prevalent in northern Nevada as well.

Last week, a convention official expressed concern about the summer visitors in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area.

Ellie Oppenheim, president and CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, was quoted by the Reno Gazette-Journal as saying, "Every destination is nervous about the outlook and concerned about what the tourism numbers are going to look like through 2008."

Oppenheim quoted recent surveys as indicating a major drop in discretionary and leisure spending because of the economic downturn.

"People are worried about the mortgage crisis, the credit cost and the fuel crunch. The distillation I can give you from reviewing many articles about travel are twofold: One, people still feel entitled to a vacation. They don’t want to sacrifice that despite the weak economy. Two, people are spending cautiously. The pulse that I pick up is that many people are looking for shorter trips, closer to home and in many ways less expensive to what they might have committed to in a strong economy," Oppenheim said.

She added that "it fits well in marketing to our traditional markets in the Bay Area and Sacramento area who are drive-in visitors within a few hours of their home."