Las Vegas tourism officials seek more international traffic

14 October 2015

The city's tourism marketing leaders continued their quest to draw more international traffic to Las Vegas Tuesday, signing an agreement with a South Korean business group and approving spending $375,000 on separate programs geared to boost foreign travel.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors also took their hats off to cowboys, acquiring the exclusive rights as a national sponsor to the National Finals of Steer Roping competition and applauding a new theme song for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and In-Ho Kim, chairman and CEO of the Korea International Trade Association, signed a memorandum of understanding during Tuesday's board meeting. Ralenkotter signed on behalf of the World Trade Center Las Vegas, housed at the Convention Center.

The agreement encourages mutual assistance and cooperation between Las Vegas and the 71,000-member Korean association. The deal is expected to bolster the city's identity as a center for business through its status as a leading trade-show host.

"Through this memorandum, our two organizations are expected to generate a strong synergy effect by cooperating on a broad range of common interests, including our commitment to the effective management of the World Trade Center and the improvement of exhibition and convention and facilities and services," Kim said in a statement.

South Korea is one of the city's top 10 international markets with an estimated 137,000 visitors in 2014. South Korean companies have had a growing presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show where 3,700 attendees and 66 companies exhibited at the massive trade show in January. The Consumer Electronics Association, sponsors of CES, was instrumental in landing Las Vegas' World Trade Center at the Convention Center.

South Korea also is the only Asian market with nonstop round trips between Seoul and Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport on Korean Air.

In separate votes, the board also unanimously approved spending $225,000 to exhibit at IMEX Frankfurt, a major European tourism trade show, in April, and $150,000 for the kick-off of new nonstop air service between Las Vegas and Copenhagen, Denmark, and Stockholm, Sweden, on Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Fifteen hotel and tourism companies exhibited with the LVCVA at IMEX Frankfurt last year and each of them have expressed interest in participating in 2016.

The Norwegian Air kickoff includes celebrations and media events in Copenhagen and Las Vegas in early November when the new weekly service begins. Stockholm service starts Oct. 31.

The board also approved the sponsorship of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's National Finals of Steer Roping, which will cost an estimated $250,000 a year through 2024. The amended agreement gives Las Vegas the ability to sponsor the event regardless of where it's conducted, publicizing the city in feeder markets.

Las Vegas has hosted the National Finals Rodeo for 29 years and last year signed a 10-year extension to the deal.

The board also viewed and applauded the new Charlie Daniels Band video, "It Don't Get No Better Than That," a new theme song for the National Finals Rodeo that is as much a tribute to Las Vegas as it is to the rodeo.

The video will air for future broadcasts of the rodeo event.

In another matter, the board viewed a 15-minute video produced by R&R Partners, the LVCVA's advertising consultant, summarizing the company's marketing efforts for 2015.

The recap gave a statistical analysis of efforts that resulted in 2014's record 41.1 million visitors, a total on pace to be eclipsed this year.

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