There seemed to be more upbeat news about tourism and visitation in the past week than we’ve seen in months.
Here are some of the highlights from a glass-half-full week:
■ A research firm completed a report for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority involving a key tourism market, business travelers.
We all know that Southern Nevada’s hotel rooms are most frequently filled with free and independent travelers on Fridays and Saturdays and business travelers on the midweek days. With conventions at a standstill because of COVID-19 restrictions — the maximum number of people gathering is 25 percent of a venue’s fire code capacity or 50, whichever is less — the LVCVA commissioned Reston, Virginia-based Heart+Mind Strategies to determine the likelihood of a rebound in business travel.
Heart+Mind determined that 91 percent of respondents miss the face-to-face interaction of in-person conferences and 58 percent are burned out from virtual business meetings and conferences.
Of the 510 business travelers surveyed in early January, 77 percent said they would prefer attending conferences, conventions and trade shows in person, and 74 percent believe Las Vegas is best prepared to safely host in-person events in the second half of 2021.
Las Vegas is the top destination compared with other competitive markets among business travelers as being best-prepared to safely host in-person events.
■ At the Vegas Chamber’s Preview Las Vegas, two speakers, LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill and Circa owner Derek Stevens gave their assessments Thursday of when we can start seeing a return of visitors.
The consensus is that visitors will be more comfortable coming by the second or third quarter of 2021.
Hill anticipates the arrival of the rescheduled World of Concrete trade show in June will be an important milestone for the city. Of course, all of this is dependent on reduced numbers of new COVID-19 cases and increased numbers of vaccinations distributed.
Stevens noted that he expects federal lawmakers to approve legislation to provide additional relief, but that may come at a cost — higher interest rates.
■ There is an all-out push this year for Americans to observe National Plan for Vacation Day, which occurs Tuesday.
In the past, the day centered around encouraging Americans to use all of the vacation time they are entitled to from their workplaces. Now, it’s more about making vacation plans early to get the best possible travel deals.
San Francisco-based Destination Analysts, a travel research company, found that 63 percent of Americans say they “desperately” need a vacation, that 84 percent are excited to plan a vacation in the next six months and that 93 percent of American workers prefer to use their paid time off to travel.
Also, Destination Analysts said that once a vaccine is available and accessible, 53 percent of American workers prefer to use their paid time off to take a vacation away from home.
■ The U.S. Travel Association, American Gaming Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Nevada Resort Association all agree they can work with some of the policies introduced by President Joe Biden about travel and tourism.
The president is looking to balance the nation’s health and safety needs with the economic need to boost tourism.
■ Another thing Las Vegas has going for it is key infrastructure improvements that have been made during the coronavirus pause.
Southern Nevada is on the verge of seeing a new megaresort, Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas, and a reimagined property, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
The new Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall is finished, and its Boring Co. people-mover is nearly ready for passengers. Allegiant Stadium has been used by UNLV and the Raiders, but few have had the opportunity to go inside for a game or a concert event.
We’re ready for the pent-up demand everybody has been projecting.
It all begins with a little optimism.