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'Preview Las Vegas' predicts return to prosperity tourism and gaming

'Preview Las Vegas' predicts return to prosperity tourism and gaming

By Rikki Cheese. CREATED Feb 9, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Business leaders gathered on Thursday for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's "Preview Las Vegas," the organization's annual meeting to predict trends in the year ahead.

Gaming analyst Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis said, " The last several years have been about surviving the recession and business owners have done a phenomenal job of that. Now it's time to transition and think about how do we take advantage of this economic recovery."

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter spoke about positive tourism trends.

"We've had 22 straight months of increases in visitor counts and convention attendance and so we truly are seeing the recovery cycle for the industry itself," Ralenkotter said. 

Ralenkotter said new events, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts, and branded weekends such as NASCAR events, are fueling that upward trend. He said nearly half of all jobs are directly or indirectly tied to tourism and gaming.

Aguero said Nevada's 12-point-six percent jobless rate isn't as bleak if you take out the hard-hit construction trade.

"We created jobs in health care all the way through the economic downturn. Wow.", said Aguero. He added, "We're creating jobs again in business and professional services."

The next challenge cited at the gathering , is to bring more international tourists to Nevada and change the industry's focus.

Aguero said, "You think about the past, really 20 years; it's been about building bigger and better hotel rooms. The next 20 years are going to be about figuring out ways to fill them creatively."

Ralenkotter said 39 million people visited Las Vegas in 2011. The convention authority expects about 40 million visitors in 2012.




Rikki Cheese

Rikki Cheese

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Rikki Cheese is currently an anchor and reporter for Action News.