Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2018

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With fewer tying the knot, county keeps focus on wedding tourism

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John Locher / AP

In this Aug. 1, 2017, photo, Eddie Powers, right, performs as Elvis during a wedding for Wil and Sarah Wilson in Las Vegas. Powers works full-time as an Elvis tribute artist performing at weddings and leading Elvis themed tours around Las Vegas.

Wedding tourism officials for Clark County are moving forward with efforts to boost Nevada’s long-stagnant industry.

The County Commission unanimously directed staff to continue an interlocal agreement for wedding tourism with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The directive comes at a time when weddings have remained stagnant nationally after falling during the recession. The county entered into the agreement in 2016, around the same time that officials also increased license fees, and has invested more than $1 million per fiscal year in the project since then.

Authority officials told commissioners Tuesday that about 15 people work on wedding tourism promotion in Las Vegas as part of the interlocal agreement and that Nevada is still the wedding capital of the country based on marriages per capita.

The country went from 8.2 marriages per 1,000 people in 2000 to about 6.8 marriages per 1,000 people in 2009, remaining fairly steady since then, said Cathy Tull, LVCVA chief marketing officer. The number of wedding licenses have only increased in four states in the last decade or so, she said.

The $1.4 million invested in paid media has resulted in $127,000 in added value, said authority Advertising Manager Ramon Montez. Officials said they are focusing advertising and information online, targeting recently engaged couples interested in destination weddings.

County Clerk Lynn Goya said during an October commission meeting that weddings have been on the decline, and the county should have a person in position to have a direct role in daily outreach. Goya has long been concerned about the declining number of wedding licenses being issued in Clark County, and has supported increasing fees to boost marketing. The county marriage license bureau falls under her purview.

Commissioner Larry Brown said Tuesday that the LVCVA was in the best position to handle the project. He said the county needs to be prepared should weddings go on an upswing nationally.

“The additional fees, I think we heard it today, have come back with millions of impressions and engagements,” Brown said. “… A position cannot re-create what’s been established for decades.”