July 5, 2021 Land-Based, Interview

In Good Hands

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In an exclusive interview with Gaming America, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman speaks with Carl Friedmann about encouraging trends that the city is not only gaining momentum to reach pre-pandemic levels, but surpass them with notable new properties and increased investment.

According to April statistics from the LVCVA, visitation to Las Vegas was up 15% from March, yet still down 27% from pre-Covid levels in April 2019. With 100% capacity now resumed, what projections can you share in terms of recovering remaining losses due to the pandemic?

Las Vegas is well on its way to returning to pre-pandemic visitation levels. As more people are vaccinated and we see the country and the world reopen, there is an intense, growing interest in Las Vegas. There is an energy building that is palpable. People want to travel and have a good time after the pandemic and of course, Las Vegas is on their radar as a top destination. Total recovery for a year’s loss is out there to grab in time.

 

Domestic tourism is rebounding but what are the prospects of international tourism numbers getting back to desired levels? While China, for example, only accounts for about 3.5% of total international visitation, Chinese tourists spend on average 30% more and stay longer. What strategy is in motion to attract these vital segments of customers?

We are the world’s top destination be it for travel and fun, or for business meetings and conventions. We are known for the hospitality at our world-class resorts, our five-star dining, incredible boutique shopping and being entertained by the most popular and well-known entertainers. Until the international countries fully open their travel restrictions, time is the measurement.

 

On what scale are efforts being implemented to future proof the city, as, for instance, contactless and cashless options are being introduced? Can you cite some other examples of how properties are elevating the guest experience while at the same time being mindful of increased safety precautions?

Las Vegas has always proven to be a destination committed to maintaining the highest standards of good health practices, which is why we have flourished, expanded and excelled over the decades. We were not broken when the pandemic constraints were put upon the city and we remain committed to being at the forefront in all new ways to sustain our attractive appeal. Knowing that Las Vegas has always been a chameleon and on the cutting edge when it comes to trends and technology, we continue to move forward advancing new trends in health, safety and interactivity. Our International Innovation District downtown has become an incubator and testing grounds. Keeping in mind that Las Vegas has always made safety its priority, our focus remains on adapting to the changing world, its challenges, regulations and requests. We will continue to remain at the forefront of responding as needed and implementing in areas of safety and health.

 

How are ancillary businesses in Las Vegas, like restaurants, tourist attractions and shopping, faring now? Are employee levels, and opportunities for employment, returning since the lockdowns shuttered many businesses?

The pandemic was extremely tough on our small businesses. Governmental aid and programs were a safety pin, but, sadly, not enough to handle the shutdown, which was the killer forcing far too many out of business. But Las Vegas is on a very strong rebound now, heading back toward the booming economy that we were enjoying in early 2020. We are delighted to see many small businesses open and inquiries about investment potential are enormous. Yes, as with the rest of the nation, we are experiencing a need for labor to be sure. We have good jobs available and a great quality of life in Las Vegas, and if your readers are looking for a change, they may consider restarting here.

 

I might take you up on that. So with momentum building and new properties opening like Resorts World and Circa, how is Las Vegas being viewed as an attractive destination to find reliable work and settle? How are you working with Governor Steve Sisolak on promoting this?

Certainly with new properties like Resorts World and Circa (with the world’s biggest sportsbook), there is the need for massive numbers of employees. Each of us who lives here believes we are beyond fortunate to live in an exciting, multi-dimensional community like Las Vegas. All the amenities that people travel to for enjoyment, relaxation, business, sports and convention attendance are here to enjoy and experience to the fullest. Wonderful neighborhoods, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities and a truly diverse and welcoming community are part of who we are. All are welcome to be a meaningful part of pursuing their dreams in Las Vegas, a city where those dreams still come true.

 

If current trends are anything to go by—with new properties opening, and conventions, expos and entertainment returning, as well as 100% capacity and a general sense of increasing optimism—how does the rest of 2021 look regarding the city’s economy and overall vitality?

Our future is as bright as the sun that shines here nearly 365 days a year. Las Vegas is a special place that can't be replicated anywhere else in the world. We've had tough times in the past, be it from a recession or most recently the pandemic, but never bet against Las Vegas. We handle it all as a huge, diverse and welcoming family. It's been easy for us to adapt to change so we remain the world’s favorite travel destination and a beautiful, thriving community. Therefore, when your readers are ready to take a break, hold a meeting, enjoy nature or maybe even get a fresh start somewhere new, Las Vegas is ready and waiting. 

 

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