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State looks to attract more foreign visitors to Nye County

Initiatives to draw more tourists throughout Nye County are underway and a trip overseas provided a Las Vegas firm a chance to connect with possible clients outside the United States.

R&R Partners, a Las Vegas-based public relations firm, sent Marvin Minnick, chairman of Nevada Silver Trails, out to entice the European market to visit the county.

Nevada Silver Trails is the largest of the five geographical areas broken down by Tourism Nevada at approximately 35,000 square miles. The area occupies the width of the state from about the geographical center, just south of U.S. Highway 50 and all the southern counties except Clark, according the their website.

The trip, called Nevada Governor’s European Trade Mission, took place July 20-25 in London, England and Berlin, Germany. The opportunity gave Minnick the chance to connect with travel agencies from around the world, in hopes of luring them to create trips to the less-populated areas of the state.

“We met with travel agents and people that own travel companies,” Minnick said. “A lot of them create specialized tours too where they’ll set up a package where you can spend three or four nights in Vegas, then you have a rental car and you go through rural Nevada, setting up different places to go there and then you fly out of Reno.”

Minnick explained the tours can also start in Reno, they just use the two as start/end points due to both cities having international airports, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno.

The meetings with over a dozen tour operators were set up to let all travel agents and tourism representatives meet in quick fashion, to ensure all involved were able to intermix.

“They set it up where I had a table and the other seven people, like LVCVA, Reno-Tahoe, and others had tables,” Minnick said. “We did like a speed dating format. You had 10 minutes and somebody would come to your table and you would sit and tell them what you’re about and all the different things that you can do in the area. Then they would ring a bell and they would move to the next area.”

Minnick also did a more formal presentation, allowing him to hammer home the main components to Nevada Silver Trails bulletpoints.

All parties involved also had the chance to catch up more in the evenings, as a more relaxed environment offered chances at more detailed discussions on each area in focus.

“At night we would have a reception where all the people we met that day came and had hor d`oeuvres and came and had more informal talks. So we didn’t have to beat the clock with the 10-minute thing.”

During the trip Minnick found that the majority of people he met with didn’t know much about Nye County, which has been the case in the past.

“Everybody associates Nevada with Las Vegas and Tahoe, not so much Reno” he said. “They don’t know much about in between, they figure that it is just all desert. Then when they get out there, they’re like, ‘Whoa, this is completely different.'”

Minnick said that his work isn’t only aimed at bringing the tourists to the area, as those who write about and promote the destinations are also targeted, in order to help spread the word about Nye County.

“We do a lot of familiarization tours,” he said. “We’ll have writers and travel agents like the ones we met in the U.K. and we bring them in from different areas… and they take them all around the state for like six days. We get them familiarized with there being more out here than Las Vegas and Tahoe.

“It’s more of an awareness thing is what we do.”

The trip ended up going very well according to Minnick as he open a lot of eyes to what the state has to offer besides Las Vegas and the Reno-Tahoe area.

“People were really surprised that attended,” he said. “They would have never known there was a ghost town out here, and the Mizpah. Most of them didn’t know about the altitude changes, going up to 14,000 feet, then Death Valley that is below sea level, they all had the image of just desert and that’s it.”

Although for the most part the participants didn’t know much about the county, he was surprised about how much they wanted to learn about the area.

“I didn’t know that they would be so excited about finding out about what was exactly out there,” Minnick said. “They were enthused and were engaged in conversation wanting more, to learn more about stuff.”

Since the trip Minnick said he has been in contact with three of the travel agencies, which were interested in the Beatty area for the old-time gunfighters, and his keynote speech to share with others about Nye County.


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