Las Vegas, Napa Valley Honor Tragedies, Still Try to Attract Visitors

November 3, 2017

After the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, the city replaced its fun-loving tourism motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” with the hashtag #VegasStrong.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, weeks after wildfires burned swaths of California’s wine country, that region is preparing a fundraising event and campaign, dubbed “Grateful Table,” to show that most of its wineries and vineyards were spared from the flames and are operating as usual.

Persuading visitors to return after a natural disaster or mass tragedy requires a delicate balance of remaining sensitive to loss and continuing on with life. In Las Vegas and in Northern California’s wine region, tourism boards are using messages of patriotism and altruism to lure vacationers. By visiting wine country, “you are financially supporting the community,” said Caroline Beteta, chief executive of Visit California, the state’s tourism agency.

But tourism bureaus shouldn’t linger too long on messages of tragedy and recovery, communications experts say. “So far, Las Vegas has done it tastefully, and that is the key to it,” said Eric Rose, a crisis management expert with the firm Englander Knabe & Allen in Los Angeles.

Visit Napa Valley, a local tourism agency, has launched a two-phase campaign. It says the first is “an expression of strength, hope and understanding to all of those affected by these wildfires.” The second phase will be “an open-for-business/welcome-back message.” — Greg Beaubien


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