Nevada looks to counter threat from California casino expansion


CARSON CITY, Nev. -- State tourism officials named an experienced executive to expand international travel here and announced a $1 million program to counteract casino expansion in California.

Carla Fisher, a Las Vegas tourism industry executive, was appointed manager of international tour and travel for the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

"She comes here at a critical time, when Nevada is diversifying its tourism product and reaching around the globe to attract visitors from new and established markets in Asia, Latin America and Europe," said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, the commission's chair.

Fisher's experience includes initiating strategies that promoted the bottle-shaped World of Coca-Cola Museum on the Strip and helping to increase overseas group sales.

About 10% of Nevada's annual 45.5 million visitors come from other countries, according to the commission. The top three overseas markets are Canada, Japan and the U.K.

State tourism officials also announced a $1 million program to spur recreational vehicle travel as the first project in a broader campaign to counteract competition from expanded casino gambling in California.

Hunt said the state faced stiff competition because of voter passage of Proposition 1A, which will expand Indian gaming in California. Estimates are that one-third of domestic visitors to Nevada come from California.

"We intend to offset any losses and actually increase Nevada's tourism by inviting visitors to 'Discover the Other Side of Nevada' -- our state tourism motto," Hunt said.

Accordingly, the tourism commission joined forces with Fleetwood, the world's largest RV manufacturer, to promote travel to rural Nevada. Visitors to the state coming here in RVs next year will be able to enter a contest with a grand prize of a luxury motor home.

Rural Nevada is everywhere in the state outside of metropolitan Las Vegas and Reno, according to the commission.

Additional tourism-promoting programs aimed at countering the California expansion will be announced later, officials said.

In other statewide tourism developments:

  • Visitors to the state's Millennium Web site,, are eligible to win a trip to Nevada worth up to $5,000. The contest will run through Aug. 1.
  • For the second consecutive year, Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort in Laughlin and Boulder Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas have been nominated among 10 finalists for the "Casino of the Year" award by the Academy of Country Music. The winner will be announced at a televised show on May 3.
  • The construction of four Las Vegas resorts coupled with a strong national economy led to a record 45.5 million visitors to the state last year, an 8.3% increase over last year, according to Hunt.
  • Nevada last winter was among the top five destinations of choice for U.S. travelers. The state was in fifth place, trailing Florida, California, Hawaii and Texas, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.
  • U. S. Highway 50 from Delta, Utah, to Austin, Nevada, labeled the "Loneliest Road in America" by Life Magazine, will be the scene of a series of special events through November. The road runs from Lake Tahoe to the Utah border. For more information, contact the White Pine Chamber of Commerce at (775) 289-8877.
  • Nevada Commission on Tourism
    Phone: (775) 687-4322


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