Nevada rolls the dice to attract more Indians to Las Vegas

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Does the excitement of winning a jackpot on a slot machine or making a killing at table games give you a blood rush? Then Las Vegas, still the gaming and entertainment capital of the world, is inviting you to try your luck.

Aiming to attract more tourists to its famous destinations, the Nevada Division of Tourism is here aiming to partner with the tourism ministry. Last October, the US state of Nevada, made famous by the casinos on the Las Vegas strip, opened a representative office here to boost tourism from the country.

“Our goal is to take India to the top five position in our list of tourists. We are ready to help Indians with everything when they visit Nevada,” Mark Hutchison, lieutenant governor of Nevada and chairman of the Nevada Division of Tourism told IANS.

Indians are now among the top 10 country-nationals to visit Nevada every year.

Hutchison said about 12 years ago, the state had also rolled out the red carpet for visitors from China, with the result that the country is now among the top five countries from where tourists arrive there.

The same effort, he said, would be put in for visitors from India.

Hutchison is here to participate in the travel trade show SATTE 2016 being held from January 29-31.

Nevada hosted around 63,000 tourists from India in 2014 and the volume is growing at 33 percent year-on-year. Hutchison said Nevada tourism division will beef up its marketing team in India to attract more people.

“Our source city will be Delhi and Mumbai. We will be targeting family market, honeymooners and Indian film industry,” he added. Las Vegas has always been a great filming destination, made more famous by Ocean Eleven’s success centred around a heist at the Bellagio casino.

Hutchison asserted that though Las Vegas is the most sought after place in Nevada, other destinations like Reno, Lake Tahoe and the cowboy traditions of Elko also have the potential to draw tourists.

Hard-selling the scenic beauty of the place, Hutchison said: “We have wineries in the north and the south of the state. Nevada is a very family-friendly and safe place. We are very particular about safety and security of our tourists.”

Although Las Vegas continues to be the centre of the gambling world among veteran visitors, Macau, in China, overtook it in terms of revenue in 2006, according to Chinese government figures.

In nine years since — the former Portuguese colony on the coast of Hong Kong came under Chinese rule in 1999, the casino investments and revenues have seen a huge boost with millions of Chinese from the mainland going to the small island to part with their money, hoping to hit it rich, or at least return with a profit.

But Las Vegas still remains the quintessential capital of the gaming industry, and many of its casino companies have set up base in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is allowed legally.

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