As Nevadans, we all know about the wonderful attractions our state offers visitors. From Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe, Hoover Dam to Red Rock Canyon, tourists have plenty of reasons to travel to the Silver State. Surprisingly, though, the United States has never advertised in foreign countries to encourage visitors to come here. But that’s about to change.
I recently met with Las Vegas’ own Steve Cloobeck, who is Chairman of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, soon to be Brand USA. Steve is coordinating the first-ever global marketing effort dedicated to welcoming international travelers to the United States. President Obama signed into law the Travel Promotion Act in 2010 to establish this organization, which is modeled after the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), because we need to encourage foreign travel to the United States.
Expanding foreign travel will create jobs and grow our state’s economy – without spending a single dime of taxpayer’s money. In 2010, international travelers spent $134 billion in the United States. According to LVCVA statistics, more than 18 percent of Las Vegas visitors in 2010 were from foreign countries. That translated into 6.7 million visitors with a total economic impact of $10 billion that supported more than 96,000 jobs in Southern Nevada alone.
Under the “Brand USA” name, the organization will unveil their marketing campaign this week in London. Early next year, they will start advertising in countries around the world to promote travel to the United States. By increasing the demand for our hotels, businesses, restaurants, and shops, foreign tourists will help support jobs throughout Nevada and our nation. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Brand USA, but one thing is certain: Foreign visitors will undoubtedly be an important part of growing our economy in the future.