Las Vegas honors a vital market with Chinese New Year celebrations

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The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens celebrates the Year of the Rat.
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens celebrates the Year of the Rat.
Paul Szydelko
Paul Szydelko

The importance of the Chinese visitor market to Las Vegas is evident in the spectacular displays at city resorts in celebration of the Chinese New Year and in the creation of a video campaign to promote a new social media program that provides information to those visitors.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), MGM Resorts International and WeChat produced the campaign to support "Meet Vegas" to welcome Chinese travelers to Las Vegas. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Tencent-owned WeChat is China's largest social media platform.

The LVCVA-designed "Meet Vegas" is a customized miniprogram platform, or applet, within WeChat that provides personalized information and services for Chinese visitors. It includes discounts and details on attractions and restaurants; informational nuggets, such as how much to tip; and live translation features.

The campaign to commemorate the launch of "Meet Vegas" uses a technology-driven video with special lighting and visual effects projected on the Fountains of Bellagio. The campaign will run on Las Vegas and MGM Resorts International's WeChat platforms and within the WeChat ecosystem. It will also be echoed in China this month across various channels to promote Las Vegas as a "Smart Event, Smart Travel" city.

"Meet Vegas' aim is to welcome and better serve international travelers through useful information across the platform," said Chris Meyer, vice president of global sales for the LVCVA. "This program enhances traveler experiences through innovative uses of WeChat and further reinforces Las Vegas as an innovation leader around the globe."

China represents the fifth-largest market for international visitation to Las Vegas, with 236,970 traveling to the destination in 2018, according to the LVCVA.

"China continues to be one of the most exciting, dynamic markets in the world and remains a top international market and significant source of visitors for Las Vegas," said Lee Ann Benavidez, MGM Resorts International's vice president of transient strategy and strategic partnerships. "It is incredibly important to MGM Resorts that we provide the highest levels of service to all Chinese travelers seeking a memorable experience in Las Vegas."

Las Vegas resorts have also built captivating displays for the next month to mark the Year of the Rat.

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens glows with red and gold hues -- red for good luck and happiness, gold for wealth -- though March 7. The centerpiece is a gilded rat that sits on gold ingot bowls, a symbol of wealth and prosperity, atop a golden staircase. Four gold rats scamper up the staircase bringing more ingot bowls. A 20-foot gold coin trees stands on either side of the garden.

The horticulture team at the Venetian and the Palazzo worked with a feng shui master to transform the waterfall atrium. An 18-foot-tall, 2,000-pound golden rodent sculpture in lush gardens blooming with red and orange bromeliads and other flowers will be displayed through March 2. Nine smaller versions of the rat are placed throughout the waterfall atrium and the resorts' lobbies.

MGM Grand has placed vibrant floral displays and playful panda bears around the resort's iconic lion. The displays have more than 4,000 live plants, including 1,400 yellow chrysanthemums grown specifically for MGM Grand, with each plant selected for its special meaning in Chinese culture.

The Wynn Las Vegas' main atrium features spectacular 45-foot long silk dragons hanging above 7,000 vibrant orange, yellow and red mums, begonias and calandivas. Sixty tangerine trees throughout the resort honor the traditional gifting of this fruit as a wish for good fortune.

"China continues to be a vital growth market for Las Vegas visitation. As more of our hospitality partners seek global audiences, Chinese New Year has continued to grow in popularity in Las Vegas over the past two decades," Meyer said. "Recognizing it is the biggest holiday for China, Las Vegas truly taps into the spirit of Chinese New Year. The entire destination takes great pride in celebrating the holiday and culture with traditional lion dances, colorful, festive decor and specialty dining options."

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