Just returned from a brief trip to Las Vegas for the Nevada Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Normally I only attend this event every other year, when it’s in nearby Reno, so it was interesting to see how different this conference is when it’s hosted in Las Vegas (hint: it’s very different). I didn’t see much of Vegas per se. In fact, once I entered the vast bowels of Caesars Palace, I did not leave the building until the next day when I left for the airport. The concept is a bit frightening, but Caesars and its environs – conference center, shopping center, restaurants and all the other amenities – are pretty large, and as I didn’t have a whole lot of down time, I didn’t have the energy to see how Las Vegas has changed in the 6 years since I last visited.
Overall, the conference was fine, with some unusual highlights including watching Celine Dion toss her hair and give breathy and dramatic thanks as she received an entertainer/service award from Governor Jim Gibbons, and getting the 2008 Liberace commemorative calendar as part of the conference shwag. Frankly, the calendar was more exciting to me – who knew there was a Liberace calendar?
And the one thing that struck me during my stay was how much Las Vegas has outgrown its infrastructure. McCarran Airport cannot handle the amount of people it has coming through, and as a result, the security line takes upward of an hour to go through, and depending on the time of day, a 15 minute drive to the strip can be closer to an hour. All this, and the Las Vegas tourism folks were boasting about all the new rooms they’re building. I can’t imagine what the airport will look like when those hotels are completed.