Although the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA)
has been actively promoting travel to Las Vegas in the
international marketplace for the last 10 years, it is only within
the last five that the organization has intensified its efforts,
said Rossi Ralenkotter, the LVCVA's vice president of marketing.
An aggressive marketing campaign in Canada, attendance at major
international trade shows and the marketing of the LVCVA's Web
site, www.lasvegas24hours.com, to the international community are
just a few of the ways that the LVCVA has sought to heighten its
profile outside U.S. borders, Ralenkotter said.
The LVCVA's efforts seem to have paid off, with U.S. Department
of Commerce statistics indicating that more international visitors
are arriving in Las Vegas. For example, in 1997, the last year for
which Department of Commerce figures were available, more than 2
million foreign tourists visited, an increase of 6.8% over the
Those numbers confirm what the visitors authority included in
its new five-year strategic plan -- that the international market
is one with high growth potential.
To realize this potential, the LVCVA is looking beyond its
established offices in Tokyo, London and Munich, Germany, to
representation in South Korea and South America. The visitors
authority also has teamed up with other entities, such as the Las
Vegas Convention Center, McCarran Airport, the Greater Las Vegas
Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Resort Association, to pursue
more international, scheduled air service to the city, he said.
In 1998, the city persuaded Northwest Airlines and Japan Air to
schedule nonstop flights from Tokyo, Ralenkotter said.
The LVCVA, too, is marketing the city as more than just a gaming
destination, he noted. "We have a new message: Las Vegas anything
and everything," Ralenkotter said. "We want to get across that
there are a variety of new things to do in Las Vegas in addition to
gaming. We're now talking about national and international retail
shops, spas, restaurants -- and Las Vegas has doubled its number of
golf courses in the last 10 years. We want to communicate to
international visitors that they can extend their stay in Las Vegas
and do everything they want to do here."
That same idea extends to Atlantic City, N.J. where the
international market accounts for 2% of the 34 million people that
visit the city annually. According to Sara Lindkrantz, vice
president of tourism development for the Atlantic City Convention
& Visitors Authority (ACCVA), overseas visitors there stay an
average of four nights, double the average stay of visitors from
within the U.S.
The city had been experiencing a slide in recent years in the
overseas market, but Lindkrantz said statistics appear to be on an
upswing. "I think a lot of that had to do with the availability of
[hotel] rooms," she said. "The demand was exceeding the room
supply. But in the past few years, [several] properties have
Transportation, too, was a factor, she said. In late 1996, many
of the city's motorcoach operators began to offer a four-day open
return on tickets. "Basically, anyone coming from [New York's] Port
Authority was given the freedom to return [from Atlantic City] at
their leisure," Lindkrantz said. "They didn't have to reserve their
roundtrip in advance."
That change, she believes, has played a big role in drawing
international visitors to Atlantic City. "In talking to our
transportation partners, they say they're seeing a lot more people
coming on the motorcoach service with suitcases," she said.
For its part, Lindkrantz said, the visitors authority has been
active in trying to increase the international market by working
through receptive operators in New York and by attending major