State Conference Spotlights 2 Strategies to Boost Tourism - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

State Conference Spotlights 2 Strategies to Boost Tourism

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As keynote speaker Terry Jones told us, "All you have to do is look in any paper and see how gaming is everywhere in the country, and the world." So where does Nevada's economy turn to now?

Everyone who has a hand in tourism comes together for the Governor's Conference on Tourism every year, working to keep it Nevada's number one industry. And the one buzzword we heard at this year's conference? "International," casting our net wider to grab tourists from burgeoning nations like China.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism's Bethany Drysdale says that fast-growing country is all-important to Nevada's economy. She told us the Chinese traveler has changed from going in groups in tourist buses. Now there's many more of them, and "We're seeing a lot more individual travelers and family travelers from china, totally changing how we market to Chinese travelers now."

The commission is also targeting 4 other countries for their untapped potential: Australia, France, South Korea and Brazil. Drysdale says "These are really new up and coming markets that know a little about Nevada, but places we can really partner with Las Vegas and Reno to draw more visitors."

Brazil is where Ana Beatriz Di Pietro, one of the attendees, is from. She was invited to see what northern Nevada offers...a place she's never seen before. Her reaction? "Oh my, I really like it here!" Frankly, she was blown away. "I love it. Lake Tahoe, I had never seen snow and it was my first time."

When Ana goes back to Brazil, she'll share her excitement with travel agents to get the word out. The other buzzword at the conference: "Online". Keynote speaker Terry Jones knows the power of that word. He founded kayak.com and Travelocity.com. He says Nevada has some catching up to do. As he told us, "You know, I'm an online guy, so I would say in addition to having people on the ground, it involves better web presence."

His way to bring the visitors back? "We reach them online. We have to, because that's the way people look for travel today."

Maybe so. But as Ana Beatriz Di Pietro showed us, all they have to do is see it, and they'll bring others, like she plans to do now…more than before. As she told us, "That's because I couldn't get to know Reno that much as I like it now."

-written by John Potter

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