Tourism is and will always be an essential economic driver in our state, and our tourism categories are diversifying here in Nevada—much like our overall economy.
Tourists come to Nevada with many options in mind. From gaming to camping, Nevada offers a wide range of entertainment options. The offerings are expanding with major league sports taking the lead in the past year. Nevada’s Western U.S. hub location attracts millions of tourists who come to Las Vegas and use our state as a base to visit other attractions in our neighboring states, generating vital lodging and tourism-related revenues for our state.
I’m proud that the Las Vegas market attracts more than 6.3 million convention attendees every year and more than 42.9 million visitors annually.
We are maturing as a tourist destination as more people become aware of our beautiful natural resources from Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire to our magnificent state parks in Lincoln County to Lake Tahoe and the Ruby Mountains and year-round glaciers in the Elko area.
We need to bolster our efforts to make Nevada an eco-tourism destination because younger visitors enjoy both options and outdoor settings. It’s all about collecting experiences and we need to promote this vacation trend here in Nevada.
I acknowledge that Las Vegas in the south and Reno in the north draw much of our attention, but I want to increase heightened awareness and outdoor recreation opportunities in the big, open spaces outside of our metro regions.
That means building better relationships with our federal land stewards, who oversee and manage these national forests and open spaces. That’s where I can parlay my own working experiences with these federal agencies into improved outdoor recreation possibilities to draw more people to enhance the economic opportunities in our smaller communities.
I will never overlook our two metropolitan markets, but our state has much to gain to increase the profile and marketability of our towns such as Elko, Pioche, Caliente, Ely, Beatty and Goldfield.
Our aggressive pursuit of tourism is vital to our economy. We need to grow our international markets, and our attractiveness to new markets, like Millenials.
In my efforts to expand the other vacation options, we must look at the ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing and pleasure boating. These activities mean big dollars for our State’s economy. A 2011 economic analysis of these activities in Nevada show they generated nearly $1.9 billion dollars to the Nevada economy. They include:
- Fishing — 266,140 anglers in Nevada created $280 million in economic spending and supported 2,267 jobs.
- Hunters — 43,423 and created nearly $336 million in economic spending for the state and supported 3,058 jobs.
- Boating added $578 million to the state’s economy. Data on the number of jobs this supports is not available, but is substantial.
Overall, wildlife watching added $776 million to our state economy. This is a growing outdoor recreational activity and industry. Nevada has 55 officially designated “Watchable Wildlife Sites” across the state. Plus there are birdwatchers, photographers, and ordinary citizens looking for a glimpse of our beautiful natural resources.
Our state includes 2,760 miles of streams and 44,000 acres of reservoirs. We have topography from Boundary Peak at 13,140 feet down to the 470-foot elevation Colorado River border, and every habitat in-between: Wetlands, desert basins and rugged mountain peaks with pristine lakes.
Nevada also has more than 680 species of fish and wildlife to manage.
As Governor, I will work to make sure the Department of Wildlife has the resources they need to manage our treasured resources. Ninety Seven percent of the Departments funding comes from user fees and grants. Only 3% comes from the state’s budget.
Not only will people be coming for the great outdoors in Nevada, we now are building the next great sports facility in the U.S. for the NFL Raiders and UNLV football team and that domed stadium will also drive more new events to the southern Nevada market. That stadium will be partially built with money generated from a hotel room tax increase—another reason to keep attracting more tourists to our great state.
Nevada is maturing as a tourist destination and as Governor I will be looking for ways to devote the proper resources necessary to keep the flow of tourists coming to our state.