India is the next frontier for attracting international tourists to Nevada, and state tourism leaders this month took their first steps in marketing to the nation of 1.2 billion people.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki told the Nevada Commission on Tourism that working with the international branding organization Brand USA and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, he was able to meet with top Indian tourism leaders while attending a major Asian tourism conference in New Delhi earlier this month.
Krolicki, who chairs the commission, said he also was able to meet with media outlets in India to sell the state to prospective tourists.
“Our research shows that Indian travelers want a destination with shopping, fine cuisine, entertainment, culture, adventure and beauty, and Nevada has all of that and more,” Krolicki said. “We know that Nevada is already a top destination for Indian travelers, and that can only increase as the Indian economy strengthens in 2014.”
There are 50 million Indian citizens with passports, and the Commerce Department said 600,000 Indians visited the United States.
Krolicki told the commission his trip was reminiscent of Nevada delegations’ early visits to China.
Nevada opened the first tourism and marketing office operated by a U.S. state in Beijing in 2004. Former Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt-Bono is credited for pressing to open the office in China, even while state government budgets dwindled and critics suggested its closure.
In 2010, the state opened an office in Shanghai while cutting its budget for China in half by shrinking the Beijing presence.
Marketing to Asia has been a goal for the state and the LVCVA, and part of that strategy is securing additional nonstop flights between Asia and Las Vegas.
Korean Air offers three flights a week between Seoul and McCarran International Airport, and local leaders are working aggressively with Asian carriers to develop more routes.
In another matter, commissioners discussed the possibility of moving the Governor’s Conference on Tourism from the first week in December to October or November.
The commission staff is planning to solicit comments from industry leaders about the proposed change, suggested because of low attendance at recent conferences. The conference was canceled twice during the peak of the recession and at December’s event at Red Rock Resort, attendance was estimated at 300.
The conference alternates between Southern and Northern Nevada each year, and tourism experts are invited to share their perspectives on tourism industry trends. ___