Friday, May 6, 2011

Las Vegas Mayor "Can Feel" Economic Recovery

Las Vegas Sun: While Las Vegas is still suffering under the cloud of an economic recession, some rays of sunshine are starting to punch through, says Mayor Oscar Goodman. And one of those is Saturday's WBO welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, which is helping to bring more tourism dollars into the region, Goodman said.

"I can feel it," Goodman told reporters (Thursday) at his regular weekly news conference at City Hall.

The mayor's sentiment comes on the heels of MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren's statement Wednesday that a resurgence in tourist spending is bringing about a "sustainable recovery as opposed to ... a somewhat one-dimensional recovery."

Goodman, asked whether he agreed a recovery was here, wasn't quite ready to go that far. However, the mayor said he's been told by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority that room taxes were up 27 percent in March, "so that was very good news."

The mayor said when he asked the significance of those figures, he was told "don't get too excited, but it's not bad news." However, Goodman said that in going to events, such as the Pacquiao-Mosley fight news conference on Wednesday at the MGM Grand, he could sense a turnaround. "I think it's going to be a real big weekend here with the Pacquiao-Mosley fight. There were folks from all over the world there," Goodman said.

"I had about three or four interviews with foreign media types. The Filipinos have a strong presence. I believe it's a sellout. And I think that the town's going to do very, very well," he said.

Goodman said Las Vegas' ability to continue to attract major events that bring in tourists is a help. "It's events like these that really keep us going. It's the first time Pacquiao has been fighting in Las Vegas in a year, so it's great to have him back," Goodman said.

Goodman said he was on his way out this afternoon to the Bellagio for another event that brings in tourists, Vegas Uncork'd, sponsored by Bon Appétit magazine, where 30 events are scheduled at several Strip casinos over the next four days. That event features the culinary skills of some 50 celebrity chefs, including Alex Stratta, Tom Colicchio and Bradley Ogden.

"I think these events are so important," Goodman said. "When you think about it, any given week, we do things here that any city would love to do in a year. We shouldn't forget that."

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