WTM 2018: Las Vegas confident sporting experiences will maintain UK growth

The new chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says he has seen no softening in the market from the UK, and believes the arrival of new professional sports teams will be a driver for more transatlantic growth.

Steve Hill took over from outgoing LVCVA chief Rossi Ralenkotter in September, having previously worked as director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in Nevada.

Speaking at WTM, he said: “We welcome 775,000 visitors a year from the UK and it continues to be our most valuable overseas market.

“We are always looking at ways to grow that market and we don’t see any softening. The new Norwegian flights from Gatwick show there remains strong demand and Las Vegas remains an accessible destination.”

He added: “We have come through and recovered from the worst recession in my lifetime and we are back up to occupancy rates of 88 to 89% with revpar at all-time highs.”

Hill said his key priorities in his new role were to encourage continued innovation, improve access to and around the destination and identify the “next generation” of travellers.

He said: “People ask what the biggest misconception is of Las Vegas, and I think that people who have never visited think there is a ‘right way’ to do it.

“Our job is to show that you don’t need to be an expert at playing craps to visit. We have incredible product for you whatever your interests.”

Hill said he was confident that the relocation of the Oakland Raiders NFL team to Las Vegas in 2020 would also prove a draw for the UK market, adding to the city’s NHL ice hockey team and friendly soccer matches.

He said: “We know the market likes to experience sport when they travel, and Las Vegas offers an experience around the games themselves that is unrivalled in any other destination.”

The Travel Weekly team is reporting extensively from this year’s World Travel Market, stay up to date on our live blog and event microsite

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