Molly Castano, Las Vegas

Stuart Forster talks with Molly Castano, Director of Public Relations at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Molly Castano, Las Vegas

Stuart Forster talks with Molly Castano, Director of Public Relations at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

UK travellers visiting Las Vegas typically spend around four days in the city. Virgin and British Airways offer direct connections with London Heathrow. Starting on 26 March 2023, the addition of a new British Airways flight from Gatwick will provide another way for travellers to fly direct to Las Vegas.

“The great thing about Las Vegas is that the itinerary can be as diverse or as singularly focused as needed,” says Molly Castano, Director of Public Relations at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

Cirque du Soleil has performed in the city that’s known as ‘the Entertainment Capital of the World’ for almost 30 years. Featuring a comedian, the Mad Apple show at New York, New York is an edgy take on Cirque du Soleil. “It’s a new, fresh take on Cirque du Soleil. But, of course, they do have Mystère and O and shows that have been around for several years and continue to be fan favourites,” points out Castano.

“I also suggest that people get off the strip and out of Downtown, and experience things like Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon and world-famous landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam – all within a day’s drive of Las Vegas. We call this ‘Neon to Nature’, where you can have these outdoor experiences during the day, and then have a cosmopolitan experience at night, with dinner and shows. From hiking boots to high heels, Las Vegas offers something for everyone,” she says.

With 320 days of sunshine each year, inclement weather rarely causes flight delays. And that means plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy day trips from Las Vegas.

Learning about Las Vegas The Learn & Earn programme debuted in the UK following the pandemic. Top bookers between September 1 and October 31 2022 were selected to visit Las Vegas on a fam trip. It will be repeated in 2023, giving travel agents opportunities to view new properties and gain impressions of happenings in the destination.

In addition to fam trip places, Learn & Earn’s incentivisation means opportunities for top sellers to attend shows by performing artists with Vegas connections.

A fam trip with British Airways is planned for February 2023. LVCVA is also working on one with Virgin in the first quarter of the year.

Travellers to Las Vegas

“There’s a mix of leisure and business travellers,” says Castano of visitors. “Before the pandemic, Las Vegas had 6.6 million convention attendees. A broad mix of that was Europeans. The UK is our number one source of overseas visitation [excluding Canada and Mexico].”

“There are a lot of leisure trips – from family reunions, friend trips, golf and outdoor excursions, bachelor and bachelorette parties, destination weddings and honeymoons. Otherwise, meetings and conventions are a major draw,” she explains.

Sports tourism in Vegas

“If you look back five years, Las Vegas had no professional sports teams. Dating back a few years before that, Las Vegas wasn’t allowed to advertise during the Super Bowl because of the city’s association with gambling,” reveals the LVCVA’s Director of Public Relations.

“To go from not being able to advertise to hosting is, I think, a huge coup for the destination. The 2024 Super Bowl will be played at Allegiant Stadium – a $2 billion dollar stadium with 65,000 seats that opened in 2020. It really kind of put us on the next level of being able to host bigger events. It’s worth noting that the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena opened in 2016 and is home to our first professional sports team, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights,” adds Castano.

How to sell Las Vegas

“Vegas is so much more than the casino floor. There are so many diverse products in our area, with Downtown experiences; there are so many independently owned restaurants and hidden gems Downtown. It’s a local’s favourite. The Strip has so many options that are fantastic but it’s worth looking one step further to see what else there is to do,” she urges.

“I think that midweek continues to offer great value. Weekends tend to be a little bit busier. The convention business is coming back midweek but I still think that there are great deals to be had. You can still have that weekend experience during the week,” suggests the PR Director. The city offers two sustainable transportation options. The zero-emission Las Vegas Monorail runs up and down the east side of the Strip from the Sahara down to the MGM Grand. Electric cars operate on the Vegas Loop.

What’s new in Vegas

“Formula One is coming in November 2023. I think that it really sets Vegas on the world stage. The track runs through the strip and back behind the MSG Sphere,” highlights Castano, mentioning the immersive entertainment venue that is scheduled to open in the second half of the year.

In the meantime, there’s much for travellers to experience in and around the city.


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