THE LAS VEGAS VISITOR PROFILE for fiscal year 2003
is out. The total number of visitors to the city numbered 35.5
million, an increase of 1.3% from 2002. Other findings of the
• The number of visitors who used a travel agent in planning their
trip to Las Vegas held fairly steady at 21%, down 1% from 2002.
• Visitors in 2003 used agents primarily to book transportation,
91%, and accommodations, 93%. That's up from 87% and 88%,
respectively, in 2002.
• Agents also influenced travelers, both in destination selection,
66%, and accommodations choice, 15%. Those numbers increased
significantly from figures in 2002, which were 10% and 4%,
MTR GAMING GROUP AND HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT
signed a definitive agreement for Speakeasy Gaming of Fremont, a
wholly owned subsidiary of MTR, to purchase Binion's Horseshoe
Hotel & Casino. The two companies plan to jointly operate the
landmark downtown property, which Harrah's officials indicated
could open as soon as April 1, pending regulatory approval.
Binion's Horseshoe will host the 35th annual World Series of Poker
at the casino beginning April 22. Upon closing on the property
purchase, expected to happen early next month, MTR will acquire the
title to the property, while Harrah's will serve as the day-to-day
operator on an interim basis. A joint operating agreement will have
an initial one-year term but Harrah's may extend it for up to two
additional years. Upon termination of that agreement, MTR will take
over the operation of the property and will re-brand it according
to an intellectual property license agreement in which Harrah's
retains the right to the names "Horseshoe" and "World Series of
Poker." According to the intellectual property license agreement,
MTR will have the right to use the name "Binion's" in Clark County,
which includes Las Vegas.
CONRAD HOTELS, the luxury arm of Hilton Hotels,
signed an agreement with Majestic Resorts to operate and manage an
all-suite Conrad hotel scheduled to open one block from the Las
Vegas Convention Center -- on the site of the former La Concha
Motel -- on the Strip in 2006. Groundbreaking for the project,
which also will include high-end residences and an upscale dining,
shopping and entertainment complex known as the Majestic Resort and
Residence Las Vegas, is slated for later this year. The 378-suite
hotel also will offer a business center, 13 meetings rooms, one
main and one junior ballroom, a spa and fitness center and a heated
outdoor swimming pool.
ORBITZ AND CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT entered into
a merchant hotel partnership. Under the agreement, Caesars
Entertainment will provide the online travel company with enhanced
access to merchant inventory at its five Las Vegas resorts: Caesars
Palace, Bally's Las Vegas, Paris-Las Vegas, the Flamingo and the
Las Vegas Hilton.
ALTHOUGH LAS VEGAS' 100th birthday celebration
doesn't officially kick off until Jan. 1, plans already are
underway for the mother of all centennials. The Centennial
Celebration Committee, composed of key business and community
leaders, in conjunction with Clear Channel Entertainment, is
planning a series of one-of-a-kind live events, including a summer
concert on the Strip that will feature some of the music industry's
biggest names. The event will be broadcast nationally on television
and radio stations and internationally over the Internet. As plans
progress, more information will be available at www.lasvegas2005.org.