Tourism industry’s rising tide lifts all boats, says tourism industry

By: - February 13, 2023 1:43 pm

Nevada resorts are spending about $20 billion on current capital projects in Southern Nevada and $3 billion in the north, according to the Nevada Resort Association. (Photo: Ronda Churchill)

To mark Tourism Day at the Nevada Legislature, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard a report on the post-COVID comeback of Nevada’s primary industry.

“This has been a record-setting year in the gaming industry,” Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine told committee members. “Gaming revenues are at an all-time high in Nevada.” 

“I don’t know if that’ll be sustainable, but Nevada experienced the largest increase in gaming revenue in history, reaching a total historic peak of $14.6 billion in activity in 2022,” she said.

Valentine said the industry directly and indirectly contributed $1.9 billion, or 36% of the state’s $5.4 billion in general fund tax revenue, and is directly responsible for 386,000 jobs, almost a quarter of the state’s employment.  

“It’s an industry that’s really dependent on a lot of small businesses,” she said, noting some 22,500 small businesses have opened since the pandemic.  

“When resorts are strong, the economy recovers more quickly,” Valentine said of 2022’s all-time highs in average daily room rates, consumer spending, and air traffic at Reid International Airport.  The ADR in 2022 was $170, up from $135 in 2021.

Valentine said the hospitality industry’s contribution to economic diversification is to “import special events” such as the multi-day Formula 1, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators this fall, and the Super Bowl, slated to be played in Allegiant Stadium next year.

Valentine noted that Allegiant, which received $750 million in room tax revenue for its construction, is the “most economically productive stadium in the country” with substantially more revenue than the second biggest revenue grosser, So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles, according to Billboard. The trade paper says Allegiant generated $182.5 million on 24 shows, compared to So-Fi’s $107.8 million on 11 shows.  

Nevada resorts are spending about $20 billion on current capital projects in Southern Nevada and $3 billion in the north, Valentine said.   

She said the state can best prepare for unforeseen events by improving infrastructure in a variety of areas, especially health care and transportation, citing the brief gasoline crisis over Super Bowl weekend and the notion that “people would not be able to fill their tanks and go home,” as an example of the need for “building some resilient infrastructure…”  

During her presentation Monday, Valentine offered no observations on what the resort industry’s priorities might be for this year’s legislative session.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.