Tourism director in Carson City to tout Raiders stadium | NevadaAppeal.com

Tourism director in Carson City to tout Raiders stadium

Nevada Tourism Director Claudia Vecchio says she thinks the approval of the stadium and Clark County convention center bonding will be a game changer for tourism.

“I think our entire world has changed in a good way,” she told the Nevada Business Connections monthly breakfast at the Gold Dust West Wednesday.

Increased tourism from those projects will increase lodging tax revenues that fund the state’s tourism budget, enabling her to expand efforts that now focus on marketing Nevada “as an experience.”

“We are funded 100 percent by the lodging tax. As the lodging sector does well so, potentially, does our budget,” Vecchio told the audience of just more than 30.

She said tourism is marketing Nevada differently than it did five years ago when she was hired. But what hasn’t changed, she said, is “tourism continues to be our real job generator,” with some 485,000 Nevadans employed in the industry.

She said they’re now aiming efforts at millennials and adventure seekers of any age.

“If you have an adventurous spirit not intimidated by long, lonely roads, Nevada is the place for you,” Vecchio said. “The real gems are those you have to get off the freeway to see.

“The core of what we do is to market Nevada in a way that compels visitors. Market Nevada as an experience, the romance that comes with Nevada.”

The “don’t Fence Me In” ad campaign, she said, has been dramatically more successful than previous efforts. When regular measurements are combined with the response from social media, she said analysts estimate every dollar spent on that campaign is bringing in $77 to the state.

Vecchio told the audience she welcomes any and all suggestions from business to help improve tourism’s effectiveness saying the agency needs to be an effective business.

“We are a business that operates inside state government,” she said.

Vecchio was followed by Frank Dutra, president of Hub Zone Manufacturing in Minden.

He urged the audience to write their lawmakers and governor urging them to protect Nevada’s friendly business climate and not follow in California’s footsteps. That state, he said, is ranked 49th for the cost of doing business because of a heavy tax climate, high wage and rental space costs. California, he said, puts fees and other costs on business at every possible level, making especially manufacturers flee to other places like Nevada.

Nevada, he said, is ranked 22nd but, he pointed out, that means there are still 21 other states with a friendlier business climate than Nevada.

He said with the current Nevada climate, “businesses such as mine can do it here and can do it successfully.”

“We are in the beginning stages of watching this area’s economy grow,” Dutra said. “With responsible spending, no new taxes should be added.”