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Painting the Town Blue

Written By:

Kristin McMillan

This month, we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, and there is a lot to celebrate this year: the opening of the Linq and the Cromwell, as well as the soon to be open SLS; breaking ground on a new arena on the Strip; the unveiling of
a new iconic landmark – the High Roller – to our skyline; and not just one, but two political parties considering Las Vegas as the host for its presidential convention in 2016. For a record-setting 20 years, Las Vegas has been the number one trade show destination in North America.

While as a community we look towards new avenues to diversify our economy, we also must keep our core tourism industry strong and forward-moving. And now is a great time to reinforce how important that industry is to every aspect of our community and economy in Southern Nevada. Last year, the tourism industry’s total economic impact was more than $45 billion, nearly half of our total workforce and 47 percent of the region’s gross product. The impact of travel and tourism on our economy promises to be even more significant with time. You will read in this issue that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is well into planning the Las Vegas Global Business District, an ambitious multi- tiered project to solidify and expand the market share of Las Vegas in the global economy. This will be a vital component of our region’s future.

The Metro Chamber is actively engaged in advancing and strengthening an agenda that sustains Las Vegas’ position as a top leisure and business travel destination. We are the only metropolitan area chamber to hold a seat on the U.S. Travel Association’s board, giving us a voice on behalf of our region to help grow this pivotal
sector and create jobs. We are deeply involved with the LVCVA, having three seats on its prestigious board of directors and partnering on various initiatives, projects and activities.

During the Chamber’s annual trip to Washington, D.C. last month, we connected with members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation, as well as key members of Congress from other states, to press for legislation to keep travel and tourism strong and growth-focused. We discussed the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which would expand the Visa Waiver Program, reduce visa wait times and conduct visa interviews through a videoconferencing pilot program. Expanding our market share of international tourism is a critical catalyst for job creation and economic growth. When in Washington, the Chamber encouraged the passage of other federal legislation as well, including bills to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to protect our economy and core industry, renew funds for Brand USA to market the U.S. as global destination for tourism, and expand ecotourism through the designation of Tule Springs Fossil Beds as Nevada’s first national monument.

During the week of May 3 – 11, the LVCVA will be “painting the town blue” by lighting Las Vegas signs and landmarks in blue and asking residents to wear blue to show support of Southern Nevada’s core industry. On Tuesday, May 6, the LVCVA will hold a rally at The Mob Museum to celebrate this commemorative week. At the Chamber, we’ll be turning our website blue for the occasion and taking part in the festivities. I invite you to take part in the celebration. Turn your business landmarks blue, encourage your employees to wear blue for a day and help support Southern Nevada’s dynamic economic engine.