LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The troubling prospect of California tourists stranded in Las Vegas because of a fuel pipeline leak never materialized — but it did give everyone “a pretty good scare,” a tourism official said Monday.
Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said events like Friday’s leak point to a need to build a solid infrastructure.
Valentine spoke at the Nevada Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor — “Tourism Day” in Carson City on Monday. The question came up as she responded to Senator Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas), who asked how Nevada could prepare for problems of all sorts that could come up in the future.
Problems can be hard to foresee, Valentine said. “I don’t know who could have anticipated something like October 1 or the pandemic … or the fuel leak, or the savings and loan crash.”
“Building a resilient infrastructure is always going to be key,” Valentine said. “And that can be a resilient infrastructure in health care, it can be a resilient infrastructure in transportation, it can be a resilient infrastructure in fuel pipelines.”
Nevada’s economy is still heavily dependent on tourism, a lesson the pandemic hammered home. Valentine’s presentation Monday aimed to inform lawmakers the ripple effects of tourism — the jobs created in businesses that surround hotels and casinos. The message comes as the economy is strong and tourism is breaking all kinds of records.
The resort association presented several graphics to the Legislature showing how resorts contributed taxes, jobs, school funding and transportation projects:
“A rising tide lifts all boats,” Valentine said. “When we’re doing well, the boats in Nevada, big or small, all come up with us.”
But she acknowledged that tourism is vulnerable. Just the threat of a fuel shortage sent Las Vegans scrambling to gas stations Friday afternoon. There have been no official estimates on how many people in California canceled plans to come to Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl.