Las Vegas is gearing up for another celebration, the Chinese New Year, which falls on January 31.
The city’s recent marketing efforts towards Asian tourists underscores the fact that this is not just another passing holiday, but part of a tourism trend with a lot of potential.
“With Las Vegas’ strong global brand recognition, we see international visitation as one of our top growth markets,” said Michael Goldsmith, vice president of international marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “Asia, in particular, is a market that has much potential for increased visitation.”
In 2012, 538,000 people visited from the top three Asian markets, China, Korea and Japan, a number that has nearly doubled since 2009 when it was 291,000. It’s also worth noting that international visitors spend 73% more than the average visitor to Las Vegas, and represent almost one-third of all direct visitor spending.
Recognizing this growing market’s potential, the LVCVA has offices located in Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo that focus on brand marketing and public relations programs, participate with in-market tradeshows and conduct training seminars with travel agents.
Additionally, the LVCVA is working to increase non-stop services between Las Vegas and Asian destinations; right now the only one is on Korean Air, with three flights per week.
On the ground in Las Vegas, resorts are responding to the growth of this market with a plethora of Chinese New Year specials and celebrations. As more properties seek global audiences and the Asian population increases in North America, Chinese New Year celebrations – which run from January 31-February 16 this year- have increased in Las Vegas.
The Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas will have holiday décor; Caesars Palace, The Smith Center and Fremont Street Experience will host special themed performances; and traditional dragon and lion dances will wind through the casino floors of 14 properties.
Restaurants are gearing up for the Chinese New Year as well, with specialty menus featuring traditional Asian cuisine.
It is not a coincidence that PANDA!, an acrobatic-based show about the journey of a panda out to rescue his princess, will open at The Palazzo just as Chinese New Year celebrations are beginning, said Keith Salwoski, executive director of public relations at The Venetian and The Palazzo.