The 13th annual Luxury Travel Expo kicked off Monday with hundreds of luxury travel advisors packing the conference center at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The general session saw some words of encouragement by John McMahon, vice president/group publisher of the Questex Hospitality Group and a Las Vegas travel update.
McMahon began the session by reassuring the advisors in the room that they have chosen the right market to sell, especially during the economic downturn.
"This is a wonderful year for luxury travel," says McMahon. "You are in the right place today. This is the market that has rebounded the most."
McMahon addressed the false notion that travel agents are a dying breed, referencing President Obama's recent comment that vacations are now entirely booked online.
"The real solution sits in the room," he says. "It's us working together so we have a voice. We need to rally together to send the message out that travel agencies are still alive."
Art Jimenez, director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Bryan Gay, vice president of sales for Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, both announced that the recent struggles with regards to Las Vegas tourism have ended.
"The bigger you are, the harder you fall," says Jimenez. "We were affected. But we are back."
In fact, Jimenez noted that Las Vegas has seen 19 consecutive months of both visitor growth and average-room-occupancy growth.
"There was a time where we were getting a little nervous," says Gay. "As a resort in a great destination, we were struggling. But we are back and occupancy at the resort is coming back to a level that we can maintain and that is great news."
Gay also announced that a new nightclub at Mandalay will be completed by 2012.