I’ve checked, it’s been almost 10 months since I have mentioned Las Vegas in my weekly missive, so I thought I’d re-visit that topic. Of course, Las Vegas changes almost as much as you change clothes, so almost every month something is different.
They have been busy in Sin City this year. Tourism officials have reported that more than 21 million visitors came by for a visit in the first half of 2015. More than 3.5 million visited in June, which was up 2.4% from June of ’14, but interestingly, convention attendance was down 16% in June. Those conventioneers probably decided it was too hot to try to get a convention organized in that month.
Convention centers there are not sitting on their hands. Mandalay Bay has just completed a new exhibit space, a 20,000-square-foot foyer, and an underground parking building. By January ’16, they will convert existing space into 70,000-square-feet of a new carpeted ballroom, bringing the facility’s total square footage to more than 2 million---the fifth largest convention center in the country in terms of total exhibition space. That just cost them a piddling $70 million. So you can bet they will be hustling some convention business for that facility!!!
The city is preparing and hoping to welcome a large influx of foreign visitors with a ramped-up emphasis in particular with Asian contacts. They plan to double the number of international gates at McCarran International Airport that will accommodate the double-decker A380 aircraft. Already it is the ninth busiest airport in the United States and foreigners accounted for 19% of the more than 40 million passengers who arrived there last year. The design and construction on the extra gates is expected to cost $51 million and hopefully be operative by late 2016.
Another emphasis is causing a little up-tick in attention to Las Vegas. It has been 15 years since Nevada voters approved legalizing medical marijuana in the state, but they just recently opened the first dispensary in Clark County. They have been seeing more than 100 patients per day at that facility. They are serving more than just residents; some being served are tourists who are registered medical marijuana patients at home, and as long as they have a valid card and government-issued ID, they will be served. One state senator remarked that “we have 40 million people a year coming here and if only 10% went to a dispensary…”. He suggested that they consider legislation that would regulate it, then they could tax it, and it could be a real money-maker for the county. I don’t know for sure if he is considering the extra cost in security involved with that situation, but it might be a boon for casinos, akin to playing poker or one-armed-bandits when you are “high” on booze and dope!!.
It’s still a great adult town, lots of things to see and do, lots of crazy people to watch, and some first-class entertainment. The experienced agents at The Travel Factory have been selling that destination for many years now, so give us a call for some expert advice. Call at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040, drop in for a visit at 4150 Southwest Drive, or visit our website: www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com. Let us help you get outta town!!!