Little negative effect to Florida tourism seen from recent events

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tourism industry experts in Las Vegas and Orlando say they don’t expect three horrific incidents in Central Florida over the past six days to cause long-term harm to visitation.

Billy Vassiliadis, CEO and principal of R&R Partners, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s contracted advertising consultant, said he doesn’t expect Orlando’s tourism numbers to plummet as a result of the shooting of budding musician Christina Grimmie by a crazed fan after a concert Friday night; the killing of 49 people at Pulse nightclub Sunday morning in the worst mass shooting in American history; and the death of a 2-year-old who was drowned by an alligator after being attacked at a Disney resort Tuesday night.

Vassiliadis’ sentiments were echoed by a University of Central Florida economics professor, who believes the locations of the incidents and the belief they don’t foretell any potential future danger will leave potential visitors comfortable with their travel plans.

Sean Snaith, also director of the university’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, said in an interview that the potential impact on Orlando would last “weeks, possibly months.”

“These types of events are infrequent and quite rare, so I think people are more likely to look past them as far as their plans are concerned to visit the region,” Snaith said. “So I think the impact these events will have will be rather short-lived as far as tourism and visitation is concerned.”

Vassiliadis said the effect on Orlando would be similar to what occurred in Las Vegas after a gunman shot three people, one fatally, at a Bally’s nightclub in October 2013 or when a female motorist mowed down a dozen people walking along the Strip, killing one, on Dec. 20. Neither incident has had a long-term effect on tourism in Las Vegas.

The biggest difference was the short time between the Orlando fatalities.


The matter is important to Las Vegas because of the multiple similarities between the two cities. Both are dependent upon visitation by conventioneers and pleasure seekers. In 2015, Las Vegas had a record 42.3 million visitors. Orlando also set a record for the year with 66.1 million visitors.

While casino resorts and entertainment are at the center of Southern Nevada’s economy, Orlando depends on family-oriented guest experiences. A variety of theme parks are based on fantasy and adventure.

But both cities have felt the sting of recessional periods that have spilled into the construction and housing industries. Like Nevadans, Florida residents have been hurt by the housing bubble that left homes underwater. In 2015, Nevada and Florida ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among states with the highest negative equity rates.

Tourism leaders in both communities tend to keep quiet in response to any incident that could shed a negative light on their destinations. Representatives of both Visit Orlando, the tourism marketing arm for Central Florida, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority declined requests for interviews.

Vassiliadis said it has been his experience that high-profile news events, such as the shooting at Pulse nightclub and the alligator attack at Disney’s Grand Floridian, usually don’t become long-term detriments to the tourism economy.

“What may be a little more disconcerting for Orlando compared with Las Vegas and other cities is that the (impact on) family-oriented visitors may be a little longer — I’m not talking about a year, but maybe months instead of weeks,” he said.

“I think people are a little more comfortable when you go into a situation like that when it’s themselves or maybe a friend,” Vassiliadis said. “But there’s probably a little more hesitation when you’re bringing your kids. In terms of the Orlando business traveler, I don’t believe anybody is going to cancel their conventions or anything like that. But because of the family destination, maybe a little longer.”


Vassiliadis added that some tourists might go out of their way to visit Orlando now in an effort to boost the community, the same way tourists flocked to New York within months of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Snaith said many out-of-town guests are unfamiliar with Orlando’s geography and don’t realize the resort destinations are miles away from the nightclub that was attacked.

There were several developments Thursday in Orlando’s worst week ever:

■ President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met privately with survivors of the Pure nightclub massacre and the families of the victims. Obama and Biden met families at the Amway Center, the downtown arena at which the NBA’s Orlando Magic play, just a few blocks from the nightclub. They then laid bouquets of 49 white roses at a memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The first funerals and memorials for the victims were held earlier in the day.

■ At the nightclub, police officers continued to collect evidence and process the crime scene. Dozens of media from as far away as California and Europe are camped blocks away awaiting developments. Several streets in the nightclub neighborhood are closed and barricaded, and police officers stopped pedestrians attempting to walk into the area.

■ Disney resort beaches were closed for a second day following late Wednesday’s recovery of the body of 2-year-old Lane Graves. The boy was found a few yards from where he had been wading when an alligator believed to be 4 to 7 feet long pulled him into the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Disney Grand Floridian Resort. An autopsy confirmed the boy drowned and suffered traumatic injuries.

A sixth alligator was removed from the lagoon Thursday, but officials have found no evidence that any of those removed had attacked the boy. Disney officials also indicated they are reviewing the signage near waterways. Critics contend signs that warn people not to swim in the resort waters fail to mention the possible presence of alligators.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like