Tourism industry ponders digital age

Delegates from Nevada's tourism industry are meeting Monday to discuss the effect of technology on the state's biggest money maker.

Conference organizers estimate the three-day conference at Reno's Silver Legacy and Eldorado casinos will draw 800 guests to three conferences: The 17th annual Governor's Conference on Tourism, the Western State's Tourism Policy Council and the National Association of State Development Agencies.

"This year's conference goes straight to the heart of an issue that confronts all of us," said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism. "Managing change is a necessity,not only to compete, but also just to survive in this business, and our conference is designed to help."

Experts on economy, tourism and management will speak on trends in the industry and strategies for competing for national and foreign business. Speakers will address a wide range of tourism-related topics, with an emphasis on the technical side of drawing tourism in the information age, especially with the World Wide Web, the newest cultivator in the $300 million market of the so-called X and Y generations.

Additionally, traditional avenues for growth will be discussed, including the growing recreational vehicle market. Hunt will talk about expectations for the Nevada RV Adventure Sweepstakes, a promotion that hopes to draw RVers with a sweepstakes for a new luxury RV. It will begin statewide Jan. 20.

The 3-year promotion is expected to draw big numbers with a $1 million budget. Tourism officials hope to increase traffic to rural Nevada communities.

"This is especially crucial to counteract expanded casino gambling in California," She said. "We intend not only to offset a decrease in gaming customers but also to increase Nevada's visitor numbers."

International tourism will be addressed with a review of new federal laws that make travel to the United States more easily accessible.

Presentations start at 6:30 p.m. at the City Center Pavilion where Hunt will preview the Nevada RV Adventure Sweepstakes.


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