The Las Vegas tourism industry is hopeful after a brutal fourth quarter

Executives at publicly traded tourism companies in southern Nevada would just as easily forget their fourth quarter earnings reports.

But you can also look forward to a lot in the coming profitable seasons.

Just as government leaders and health professionals have asked the public to be patient about a return to normal, so must the casino, airline, and gaming machine manufacturers that represent the local tourism economy.

In the fourth quarter, nine of the 21 publicly traded companies monitored by the Review Journal staff reported fourth quarter earnings totaling $ 716.5 million.

The bad news was that losses for the other 12 companies were an estimated $ 2.553 billion.

In all fairness, the first quarter of 2021 probably won’t have much to report either, considering the capacity constraints will remain in place until at least May 1st.

With capacity constraints still in place, the resorts in Southern Nevada have not seen much revenue from their casinos, showrooms, restaurants, and other amenities.

Signs of resurrection

But look at what we have to look forward to in the second half of 2021.

It seems that after a rough start, vaccination rates seem to be on the right track. While getting the public their full doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines is not a panacea, it should give people the confidence to get back to what they love to do at our resorts.

Casino companies have organized vaccination programs for their employees, and while some believe they were forced to do so by regulators, the end result is the same: it will convince remote visitors that Las Vegas is a safe place to have a good time.

Last week, sales reps from the city’s largest casino companies gathered in the new $ 989 million West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center for a panel discussion on the return of convention business.

The meeting – socially distant from attendees wearing face-coverings – was generally upbeat as journalists from the convention’s trade magazines were upbeat about the return of conventions and shows in Las Vegas.

Local elected officials and international market center managers held a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Friday ahead of the five-day Las Vegas Market Show to celebrate the grand opening of the new 315,000-square-foot expo at the World Market Center.

The opening event on Sunday in downtown Las Vegas will be one of the first events to resume since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago.

At the beginning of June the first major trade fair and exhibition – World of Concrete – will appear, which should generate sales for several companies in the second quarter. Representatives of Wynn Resorts Ltd., Caesars Entertainment Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International say their convention calendars are filling up.

Panellists said that when there were fewer people in their buildings, their companies invested in their products.

Trains, planes and cars

Global Meetings Industry Day attendees were given tours of the new West Hall, and media members also got a first look at Elon Musk’s underground people mover transit system with Tesla electric cars. It’s an attraction currently only found in Las Vegas that could pique tourist interest if The Boring Co. expands the system into the city.

And the recent announcement that Amtrak may return to Las Vegas is welcome news, especially for those who have spent countless hours in traffic on Interstate 15 between Southern California and Las Vegas.

Assuming President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan includes new siding for Amtrak trains to bypass priority freight trains, a Los Angeles-Las Vegas train route could bring thousands of cars off the congested freeway. Amtrak could also produce competition for Brightline’s proposed high-speed rail project between Southern California and Southern Nevada.

The planes are also filling up again, which is good news for the city’s resorts.

While the first quarter results for Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Travel Co. are likely nothing to write home about, they are certainly a good place to start for the rest of 2021.

Southwest, the busiest commercial aviation company at McCarran International Airport, and Las Vegas Sands Corp., the parent company of The Venetian and The Palazzo, are expected to be the first to share their profits with investors in late April.

Both had disappointing fourth quarters, but both were optimistic for the months ahead.

Southwest’s planes are slowly filling up and the company has announced 17 new destinations including Fresno, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, California. The airline has also ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX jets and will withdraw the oldest jets in its fleet.

Meanwhile, more and more restaurants and entertainment options are opening up to larger crowds. Late last week it was announced that the Electric Daisy Carnival would take place in May as planned. This massive electronic music festival will bring thousands of people from other states to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three evenings of entertainment.

The only thing that could ruin everything is a setback in COVID-19 cases due to cocky and exuberant people who refuse to adhere to social distancing and masking health guidelines.

Investors in publicly traded gambling companies are counting on visitors to do the right thing so that we can all get back to normal.

The review journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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