A new statewide plan predicts six community projects in rural Nevada will tap into an emerging mixed tourism market, and convention delegates will welcome a break from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Nevada Department of Tourism is launching a 10-year plan to attract convention visitors from Las Vegas to other parts of the state.
Travel Nevada’s 3D program has identified several projects that will receive at least seven months of consulting services and $2 million in funding from the U.S. Economic and Development Agency as part of the American Rescue Package Act.
Program leaders believe they now have an opportunity to take advantage of hybrid travelers as more employees embrace remote work and attend conferences and business meetings while on vacation.
“Many business travelers aren’t looking for a gambling experience,” said Cortney Bloomer, destination development manager at Travel Nevada.
“With so many mixed working and work-from-home schedules, many business travelers are looking for places where they can work for a while, where they can bring their family and have an Airbnb or an apartment somewhere that meets their needs. Many like Outdoor recreation, so our rural communities are able to provide that type of vacation,” she added.
long term thinking
There are six projects involved: White Pine County; Black Rock; Lincoln County; Nevada Indian Territory (to enhance cultural awareness and identity); Boulder; and Carson City, Carson Valley, and Virginia City (joined forces).
Each will be guided by a local steering committee representing local businesses and community stakeholders to promote tourism. And working with Better Destinations consultancies, they will eventually develop a 10-year plan to increase attractiveness to tourists and expand the economy through tourism.
The emphasis throughout is on outdoor recreation, nature, culture and the arts.
The plan is very different from previous projects in the area. MGM Resorts, for example, is positioning hotel rooms as offices during the Covid-19 pandemic. The move was short-lived, and Las Vegas later emerged as the most popular business travel destination in the US in 2021, even amid emergency orders and strict Covid enforcement.
It also continues to operate as a popular corporate destination through 2022, with 2 million people attending meetings and events from January to May.
So it’s no surprise that the city’s outliers now want to redirect some of these travelers in their direction.
“Many of our rural destinations actually have something that a lot of business travelers are looking for,” Bloomer added. “And they’re accessible from our main hub. If you’re coming to Vegas for business, it’s easy to get to Lincoln County, which has some of our best mountain biking trails.”
The program will also educate Las Vegas concierges and other hotel workers to become “battlefield insiders” to promote the destination.
Bloomer played down the risk that some attractions could become overwhelmed with tourists, as the plan puts local businesses and communities at the center and will work to address any capacity and infrastructure issues.
Bloomer said on-site visits will be conducted in the coming months to conduct analysis around traffic and visitor segmentation and identify any gaps in amenities.
“At the same time, we’re doing a lot of capacity building and educational things with them. Making them resilient, vibrant destinations,” she added.
More evidence that travel durations for business travel are still increasing, with a new survey citing hybrid working and work-anywhere policies as reasons for the increase.
The Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest alliance of independent travel agencies, surveyed its travel agency members and a third said business travel time had increased.
The reason, according to its latest business impact survey released Thursday, comes down to the continuation of hybrid work and “work from anywhere” policies that enable travelers to stay longer at destinations.
Marriott International executives also said this week that they believe the pandemic of travelers mixing business and leisure purposes will now have a long-term impact on the hotel industry.
Hybrid work is also the most popular mode of work in the UK, according to a new report published this week by mobile platform Mobileo. “Since the pandemic, most organizations have favored a hybrid model,” it said, citing research from the UK’s Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, which was used by more than three-quarters of organizations.
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