Chinese travel industry representatives will spend four days in Las Vegas seeing first-hand what the state’s hospitality and resort industry has to offer, says Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt. The thirteen representatives are being hosted by NCOT, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, and will be in Nevada from October 17 through 21. Highlights of their tour are to include resort lodging, dining, and entertainment. They’ll also take sightseeing trips to the Grand Canyon and Eldorado Canyon, near the Colorado River.
Lt. Gov. Hunt, the NCOT chairwoman, says “There is no better way to market Nevada as a choice tourism destination than to bring tour operators and travel journalists to experience first-hand the incomparable attractions for themselves.”
The trip is being sponsored by Korean Air, which began direct flights from Seoul to McCannan International Airport in September. The Beijing sales manager for Korean Air is one of the members of the Chinese delegation. With this new air service, Chinese travelers can take a short flight to Seoul, and then fly non-stop direct to Las Vegas, eliminating the need for the long stopover in Los Angeles that is usually necessary with other airlines.
Bruce Bommarito, NCOT director, says that the new direct flights really open up the lucrative Chinese tourism market by making the trip to Nevada so much easier. “Once we have familiarized the tour operators and journalists with Las Vegas they can arrange their own tours and produce travel stories that influence Chinese visitors to make the trip.”
Partners in the Las Vegas tourism industry are underwriting the cost of lodging, meals, air and ground travel, and sightseeing tours for the Chinese delegation. NCOT is funded by the state’s hotel-motel room tax and would not have had the budget to organize such a trip without the assistance of local tourism industry representatives, Bommarito said.
The Chinese visitors have an exciting itinerary ahead of them. They’ll arrive in time for dinner at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino before checking into Harrah’s Las Vegas Casino for three nights. On their first full day in Las Vegas, they’ll eat at the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood resort, and then take to the skies for Papillon Helicopter’s Grand Celebration Tour of the Grand Canyon. Papillon Helicopter will have them back in time for the Excalibur’s “Tournament of Kings” dinner show, after which they have a nighttime tour of the Las Vegas Strip.
On October 19 they’ll take the monorail from Harrah’s to the Las Vegas Hilton for breakfast, go shopping at Las Vegas Premium Outlets, and then take in the amusements atop the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino–the tallest building in the west. Among the Chinese delegation is the publisher of China’s Golf magazine, and he’ll be treated to a round at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson. In the afternoon, activities include a tour of the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, and the Bellagio’s dancing fountain show, botanical gardens, and buffet. That night, they’ll take in the Blue Man Group show at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.
Their final day of the trip is just as packed with activities, with the visitors dividing into two groups. The members of the travel media will take a tour to Eldorado Canyon with the Pink Jeep tour company before meeting up with their colleagues in the Las Vegas media and Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt at her restaurant, Bootlegger Bistro. Meanwhile, the Chinese tour operators will head to Madame Tussaud’s Interactive Wax Museum at the Venetian before lunch at Lawry’s “The Prime Rib.” The two groups will meet up again at the Atomic Testing Museum, a monument to the Nevada Test Site. Finally, Wynn Las Vegas hosts everyone for dinner and a tour before an overnight flight back to Korea and China.
This is the third year in a row that NCOT has hosted Chinese officials and tourism industry representatives. NCOT has operated a full-time bureau in Beijing, the nation’s capital, since 2004 when they were awarded the first license even given to a U.S. tourism agency to advertise to Chinese travelers.