Broadening Vegas' foreign visitor appeal

The high-stakes room at Aria’s Salon Prive is remniscient of those found in Macau.
The high-stakes room at Aria’s Salon Prive is remniscient of those found in Macau.

International travelers account for 20% of all visitors to Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). And with "an aggressive goal of reaching 30% in the next seven to 10 years," according to the LVCVA, the city is prepped to welcome these foreign tourists with amenities tailored specifically to their needs.

At the Venetian and Palazzo, for example, guests can request newspapers through the International News store, which can be printed for them to pick up for a fee. They can also order a newspaper through butler services prior to arriving at the property, which can be delivered during their stay.

Similarly, guests at the Aria are given complimentary access to Press Reader, an electronic newspaper service that provides access to 2,700 publications in hundreds of languages.

On the casino front, Aria designed its Salon Prive with Asian travelers in mind; it is reminiscent of high-stakes rooms found in Macau.

According to Craig Hsu, vice president of Travel Design USA, which works with many Asian clients, Asian travelers are "not looking for blackjack. They're looking for certain games,"

Salon Prive is focused on baccarat, though guests can also find pai gow, played with traditional dominoes instead of the Americanized version that uses playing cards.

Unsurprisingly, multilingual employees are the norm within many properties, especially on casino floors. At the Palms Casino Resort, staff members working the slot and table areas speak 10 languages, ranging from Vietnamese to Bulgarian.

Retailers have also taken steps to accommodate foreign shoppers. At the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, for example, retailers speak a combined 25 languages.

Whether they're shopping or spending money elsewhere, currency is always an issue for international travelers, Hsu said. "Whenever we're working with international clients, I'm looking for properties with currency exchange."

Many resorts offer such a service, though availability varies at each resort.

The Palms can handle Australian, U.K., Canadian, euro, Hong Kong, Japanese and Swiss currency conversions, though it doesn't accept foreign coins and only Canadian travelers checks are accepted. At the Shops at Crystals, the high-end shopping area in CityCenter, all retailers accept China Union Pay credit cards.

Independent attractions also recognize the appeal of catering to foreign travelers. The Mob Museum, for example, launched audio tours in Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese in December to reach the growing international audience.


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