Rep. Titus predicts Nevada tourism will come back ‘with a vengeance’
By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Nevada’s First U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus predicted on Nevada Newsmakers that Las Vegas would experience a quick recovery, once Gov. Steve Sisolak’s plan to fully reopen Nevada by June 1 happens.
“People are going to come to Nevada with a vengeance,” Titus, D-Las Vegas, told host Sam Shad.
There’s already signs that support Titus’ prediction.
Earlier this week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board announced the state’s monthly gaming win totals surpassed $1 billion for March, marking the first time since February of 2020 that the monthly gaming win hit $1 billion. March 2020, however, was the month that Nevada’s casinos were shut for 78 consecutive days due to the Covid pandemic.
Also, Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport reported 2.6 million passengers in March, 2021. It was a 25 percent increase over March 2020’s 2 million passengers and a 60 percent increase over February’s 1.6 million.
“They (Nevada visitors) just have this pent-up need to be on holiday, go outside, be at Lake Tahoe, hike around the state, come to Las Vegas,” said Titus, whose District 1 includes the Las Vegas Strip. “So our recovery, I hope and think, will come back pretty rapidly.”
Titus has been busy in Washington D.C. recently, trying to make sure her prediction comes true.
“I am a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” she said. “So my role is to be sure Nevada is at the table and Las Vegas can come back as the tourist destination that it has always been.”
Titus’ committee stature helped secure $450 million in the federal American Rescue Plan to help communities rebound from a loss of travel and tourism jobs.
It marked the first time in history that Congress approved grants for communities hit by loss of jobs in the travel and tourism sector, according to Titus’ office.
“I was proud we were able to get that,” she said. “And I can’t imagine anybody applying for that who would be more qualified than folks in the state of Nevada. So it can go to a convention center. It can go to an historical organization. It goes through the granting process but certainly we have a leg up in getting those granting funds.”
Titus also pushed to get funding for McCarran International Airport in her position as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden included $8 billion for airport relief, including an estimated $171 million for McCarran.
“Statistics show that the Las Vegas airport is coming back faster than most metropolitan airports,” Titus said. “And with this special funding program in the recovery act, it will help airlines keep their personnel on staff, so they dont have to lay everybody off and that was a big help.”
The return of international travel is another issue for Titus and Nevada tourism. Its solution may include a vaccination passport, she said.
“We have had several hearings on that (international travel) and how are we going to do it,” she said. “It is going to be something like a vaccination passport that they talked about. Call it whatever you want to.”
Already, large venues and events in Southern Nevada’s tourism economy are becoming early adopters of proof-of-vaccination telephone apps, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The phone app Health Pass is already in use at Vegas Golden Knights home games. Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International have both announced they will use the technology at upcoming conventions, according to the R-J.
“International tourists, when they come, they stay longer, and they spend more. So we want to make sure we get that back and up and rolling,” she said.
Watch this episode of Nevada Newsmakers.