RENO — Of all Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki’s tourism experiences, it was a Las Vegas event that grabbed the most interest — and the most razzing — from friends and industry colleagues in a tribute lunch at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism on Tuesday.
Krolicki offered thanks for the support he has received as chairman of the Nevada Tourism Commission at the lunch, one of the social functions at the conference held this year at the Atlantis resort.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed the estimated 250 attendees and also paid tribute to Krolicki, who is term-limited out of office and who hinted that like his predecessor, Lorraine Hunt, he’d like an appointment to the commission if a vacancy occurred.
Chairing the Tourism Commission is in the lieutenant governor’s job description.
In the eight years that Krolicki has held office, he has bolstered the state’s relationship with China, which was engineered by Hunt. Krolicki made his first China trip as state treasurer. He’s made trips to China, South Korea and Mexico, often paying his own way because he believed it important to develop relationships with other countries in order to promote tourism and economic development.
It was evident at the conference that the seeds sowed by Hunt and Krolicki have borne fruit. Delegations from China, South Korea, Mexico and one of the Nevada’s newest prospective markets, Brazil, are attending the conference to network with state tourism leaders.
While building international relationships will be remembered as a part of Krolicki’s legacy, it was a tourism marketing event in Las Vegas that will be high on his list of memories.
Krolicki received a photograph of himself with some Sports Illustrated swimsuit models from Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter at the lunch. Krolicki joked that being a wingman on the Sports Illustrated promotional event was a career highlight.
Sports Illustrated had a partnership with the Convention and Visitors Authority to promote its annual swimsuit edition.
This year’s conference is occurring earlier than usual, in part because of this week’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s admission to the union.
Sandoval and Krolicki plan to be in Las Vegas for the city’s first-ever Nevada Day parade Friday morning. They’ll fly back to Reno for festivities Saturday in Reno and Carson City.
One of the highlights of Northern Nevada’s celebration will be display of the Emancipation Proclamation for 36 hours over four days in downtown Reno.
This year’s conference theme is creating and marketing the tourism experience. Tuesday’s keynote speaker, Nevada-born Grammy Award-winning music composer Eric Whitacre, told attendees that while developing technology to enhance an experience is beneficial, it’s still the people-to-people connections that enrich the tourism experience.
Whitacre, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, graduate who was born in Reno and lived in several rural Nevada communities, is famed for developing virtual choirs online that use the voices of thousands of singers performing the same literature synchronized through his own YouTube conducting video.
In Wednesday’s session, panelists will discuss experiential tourism — inviting guests to experience lifestyles of a profession or culture by doing the work and enjoying the rewards of a project, similar to cattle roundups on a dude ranch.
Experts also will discuss Nevada’s efforts to attract more international flights.
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