Nevada Lieutenant Government Lorriane Hunt announced today that the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) will be visiting Shanghai, China from June 12 to 17 on a tourism-building mission. The aim is to promote Nevada tourism with airline, travel industry, and government officials, as well as the Chinese news media.
Five days of meetings and events will help increase travel between Nevada and China. The visit also marks the first anniversary of NCOT’s China tourism office–the first and only licensed U.S. tourism office in the People’s Republic of China.
“In Nevada, we work very hard to please our visitors and provide attractions, activities and amenities they will enjoy,” said Lt. Gov. Hunt, NCOT chairwoman. “We want our visitors to have a wonderful time and decide to return. That’s why it is necessary for us to go to China, not only to encourage people to visit, but also to become better educated about the interests of the Chinese people.”
The delegation includes Hunt, state treasurer Brian Krolicki; Ralph Witsell, executive director of travel industry sales for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority; Brenda Halvorson and Irit Langness of Papillon Helicopters, president and vice-president of sales, respectively; Bruce Bommarito, NCOT executive director; Rob Powers, vice president of community relations for the Law Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; and Teri Sweeney of the Nevada Wedding Association.
Bommarito, NCOT executive director, says that one of his goals for the trip is to sign a friendship agreement with Shanghai’s tourism agency, similar to the one they signed last year with Beijing. NCOT also developed an agreement between Lovelock, Nevada, and a Chinese mountain resort community to build an attraction modeled on a romantic Chinese custom where couples “lock their love” with a small symbolic padlock. These friendship agreements express the desire of all parties to promote cultural exchanges and build tourism.
“Tourism provides a way to build bridges between countries and promote a better understanding of each other’s culture and way of life,” Bommarito said. “We are more likely to be successful in attaining our tourism goals with China when we can conduct business face to face with tourism-industry decision-makers rather than relying on long distance contact by computer. We are forging bonds that generate economic gains.”
China’s economy is the world’s fastest-growing, which means a huge market potential for Nevada as a tourism destination. China is home to 1.4 billion people, and more than 300 million have the means to travel overseas. According to Chinese tourism officials, more than 90 percent of Chinese visitors to the U.S. visit Nevada.
Tourism mission participants from the private sector pay their own expenses, plus a fee that helps defray costs of meetings. Government participants are funded by their own agency or pay out-of-pocket. NCOT is funded by the Nevada hotel-motel room tax.