LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas needs a professional sports stadium to grow its hospitality-based economy and compete with other tourist-centric cities, according to research compiled by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Robert Lang, co-director of UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West research center, told hospitality leaders Thursday that Las Vegas needs to add more events to its calendar to pull more tourists from other destinations. A 50,000-seat stadium hosting games and concerts would do just that, he said.
“Tourism is the gift that keeps on giving,” Lang said. Lang’s findings were detailed last year in an economic development report embraced by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The report, called “Unify, Regionalize, Diversify: An Economic Development Agenda for Nevada,” advised state lawmakers to broaden the state’s economy. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.7 percent.
Lang went further Thursday, advising a luncheon hosted by the Las Vegas Hospitality Association that diversifying Nevada’s economy does not mean starting from scratch.  He said state leaders must expand on Nevada’s robust tourism market to create new jobs.

“Nevada doesn’t need to invent a new economy,” he said.

A stadium near the Las Vegas Strip could host major sporting events and concerts and attract even more visitors to Las Vegas, he said.

City leaders have tried for years to attract a major sports team to Las Vegas with the promise of a potential stadium, but Lang said such a venue would only appeal to locals. A new stadium must have international appeal to fill hotels along the Strip, he said.

Nevada also needs to overhaul its aging hospitality program at UNLV to attract more professionals and strengthen the casinos and hotels along the Las Vegas Strip that bring in most of the state’s revenue. The William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration has more than 2,800 students from 42 states and 39 countries.

Lang said the state could further establish itself as a powerful exporter of gambling and tourism by attracting more out-of-state students to a new, impressive college building.

By not investing in tourism, Lang said, “we are killing the golden goose.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  1. abusedcitizen says:

    No problem as long as it is privately funded. Some tax credits may be considered but no tax dollars should be invested. There are no surplus dollars laying around and too many unemloyed people who cannot afford another hit on their pocketbook.

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