As the new year approaches, many people from the hospitality and entertainment industry continue to ask themselves what would take for the economy in Nevada to bounce back to normal and the answer to the dilemma seems to be out of any tourism slogan.
Being highly dependent on airline and international travel, Nevada is facing tricky times ahead as the slump in demand for travel forces airline companies to cut on their flight schedules, and indirectly cut off hotels, casinos and convention centers in Las Vegas from footfall.
The decrease in international travel is affecting properties like The Palazzo which closed and people observing the situation believe other properties would follow suit and close midweek, at least for a while, as without international travel and with severely reduced domestic one, Nevada turns into a regional gambling hub and depends mainly on people driving from California and Arizona during the weekends.
Visitation levels in Las Vegas are now down to the ones seen in 1993 and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the time being, as concerts and conventions are cancelled and hotel towers closed, leaving thousands of jobless residents stuck until restrictions, which were recently extended beyond 2020, are rolled back and most importantly, people regain their confidence that travelling is safe again.
Rebound Not Yet on the Horizon
Yet, no one is willing to engage how long it will take before the complete industry rebound happens as opinions range from several months to several years. But even with all pieces falling into place, Nevada economy would need to play catch up, already falling behind 36% in gaming revenues for 2020 compared to the $12 billion generated in 2019.
With no official data yet for November and low expectations for December since all New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled, Nevada is definitely looking down the barrel. Even if every property in Las Vegas re-opens, every live show is brought back, the return of people’s confidence to travel would take more than a marketing slogan this time around.
After the 9/11 event gambling revenues and number of visitors to Las Vegas plummeted and forced businesses to seek another way to attract people back to the glittering properties. Back then, the slogan “What happens here, stays here” miraculously did the job positioning the destination as the people’s desired escape route from their problems and responsibilities.
Creating an alternative reality would be impossible this time around as for most of the US, the classic Las Vegas vacation became impossible after the virus outbreak and no marketing slogan would do the trick.
And besides, who would think about holidays knowing the uncertainty surrounding the future and even the present?