The past week seemed to have seen more optimistic news about tourism and visits than we have seen in months.
Here are some of the highlights of a half-full glass week:
■ A research firm produced a report for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority involving a major tourism market, business travelers.
We all know that hotel rooms in Southern Nevada are most often filled with free and independent travelers on Fridays and Saturdays and with business travelers on weekdays. With conventions stalled due to COVID-19 restrictions – the maximum number of people gathering is 25 percent of a venue’s fire protection capacity or 50, whichever is lower – the LVCVA hired the one in Reston , Virginia, based at Heart + Mind Strategies, to determine the likelihood of a recovery in business travel.
Heart + Mind found that 91 percent of respondents miss in-person interaction from in-person meetings and 58 percent are burned out from virtual business meetings and conferences.
Of the 510 business travelers surveyed in early January, 77 percent said they would prefer to attend conferences, meetings, and trade shows in person, and 74 percent believe Las Vegas is best prepared to safely host in-person events in the second half of 2021.
Las Vegas is the top travel destination when compared to other highly competitive markets among business travelers as it is well prepared to host personal events safely.
■ At the Vegas Chamber preview Thursday, two speakers, Steve Hill, President and CEO of LVCVA, and Derek Stevens, Owner of Circa, gave their thoughts on when we might see visitors again.
There is agreement that visitors will be more comfortable in the second or third quarter of 2021.
Hill expects the arrival of the newly planned World of Concrete trade show in June to be a major milestone for the city. All of this, of course, depends on a reduced number of new COVID-19 cases and an increased number of vaccinations distributed.
Stevens noted that he expects federal lawmakers to pass laws to create additional relief, but that may come at a cost – higher interest rates.
■ This year there is extensive pressure on Americans to adhere to the National Vacation Day Schedule, which is Tuesday.
In the past, the day revolved around encouraging Americans to take whatever vacation time they are entitled to from work. Now it’s more about creating vacation plans early to get the best possible travel deals.
San Francisco-based Destination Analysts, a travel research firm, found that 63 percent of Americans say they need a vacation “urgently”, 84 percent are excited about planning a vacation in the next six months, and 93 percent of American workers prefer to take advantage of their paid free time to travel.
Destination Analysts also said that 53 percent of American workers prefer to use their paid time off to take a vacation away from home once a vaccine is available and accessible.
The US Travel Association, the American Gaming Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Nevada Resort Association agree that they can work with some of the travel and tourism policies introduced by President Joe Biden.
The president strives to balance the country’s health and safety needs with economic needs to promote tourism.
Another Las Vegas task is major infrastructure improvements that were made during the coronavirus hiatus.
Southern Nevada is about to visit a new mega-resort, Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas, and a redesigned hotel, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
The new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center is complete and the Boring Co. People Mover is almost ready for passengers. The Allegiant Stadium was used by UNLV and the Raiders, but few had the opportunity to attend a game or concert.
We are ready for the pent-up demand everyone has projected.
It all starts with a little optimism.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.