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Write reflection papers about what you thought about those case study. Include what you have found out about tourism surety and what do you think is needed to improve tourism surety in those cities.1 page, MS Word

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Las Vegas
There can be little doubt that Las Vegas is not only one of America’s premier tourism
destinations, but it is also one of the world’s great tourism meccas. According to the Las
Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority’s (LVCVA) official statistics, the city receives
just under 40 million visitors a year. To serve these visitors, the local tourism industry
generates over 380,000 jobs. Although the city brags that while others preserve their
history, Las Vegas implodes its history with a giant party and even fireworks, in reality
Las Vegas’ history extends to the late eighteenth century when Spanish explorers first
came through the Las Vegas valley. Spanish explorer Rafael Riviera may have been Las
Vegas’ first official visitor. By the mid-nineteenth century a band of Mormons arrived in
the city, but they may have abandoned their “fort” in 1859. Although Nevada became a
state in 1864, Las Vegas did not become a “city” until 1905 (and it only incorporated in
1911). The opening of the western railroads gave the city its first raison d’être, or reason
for existence (Figure 9.2).
The year 1931 may be seen as the city’s tourism birth. In that year not only was Hoover
Dam construction begun, bringing thousands of men to the Las Vegas valley, but the
State of Nevada legalized gambling (gaming), thus changing the face of Las Vegas
forever. The 1940s saw the first of many Las Vegas hotels open and by the end of the
1940s Las Vegas had a major airport connecting it with much of the country. The first
hotels to enter the Las Vegas market turned into a tidal wave during the 1990s. With the
advent of air conditioning and the taming of the Colorado River, at least for a while Las
Vegas seemed to have conquered its environmental problems. This can be seen by the
fact that Las Vegas reported over 29 million visitors, making it one of the world’s most
important tourism cities. Clark County (in which Las Vegas is located) in 1995
produced $5.7 billion in gaming revenue. Today, Las Vegas stands as a monument to
human ingenuity. In a place where no one should want to neither visit nor live we find
a thriving community of almost 2 million residents. These people are joined by almost
40 million visitors yearly who spend almost $80 million per year, making Las Vegas the
number one tourism attraction in the United States.
Because Las Vegas pays careful attention to tourism security and realizes that a security
threat is more than a mere threat, it is also a threat to the city’s tourism economy and its
business, the city holds a yearly international tourism safety and security conference.
The conference attracts people from all over the world and serves not only to provide
information regarding tourism security issues, but also provides a great deal of
networking opportunities. Although each year the Las Vegas conference has a different
theme and has emphasized a different aspect of tourism security, each year’s conference
has shared some common themes. The conference seeks to unite academic research with
security practitioners and public safety and security personnel with private security
professionals. The goal is to allow people to exchange ideas, discuss mutual problems,
and find ways to help each other. The conference also recognizes that the best crisis
management is good risk management. That does not mean that all crises can be
prevented, but rather that the less crises there are the better the tourism industry will
fare. Las Vegas has taken the position that tourism security is not an issue of magic or
mystery. Rather, it is an essential element within the tourism product. For this reason,
Las Vegas has worked hard to create a safe and secure environment in which safety and
security issues are examined thoroughly and in a scientific manner. The Las Vegas
tourism authority understands that tourism crises do not just occur, they happen
because of our own failures, and that tourism safety and security are too important not
to be the subjects of the best academic and professional research. It is for this reason that
Las Vegas has invested in its yearly tourism safety and security conference, and has
tried to incorporate the conference’s best ideas into its overall public tourism policy
(Figure 9.3).
Because Las Vegas is such a large tourism convention destination, this chapter looks at
some of the issues facing metro and then does an in-depth interview with Ray Suppe,
who heads the security section of the LVCVA. The police material is derived from the
author’s having spent many years observing Metro and does not reflect an official
With almost 40 million tourists and a motto of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,”
Las Vegas is a challenge to the security professional, both private and public. Tourism
security professionals must find the way to allow the city to be safe while at the same
time permitting the visitor the freedom to explore sides of his or her personality that
may be different from those he or she chooses to show at home. Las Vegas then is the
land where people often let their hair down, and at the same time still want to be safe
and secure.
Metro has long recognized that travel and tourism is the heart of Las Vegas’ economy.
The LVCVA reports that the travel and tourism either directly or indirectly produced in
2012 some 382,000 jobs. The Las Vegas Police (called Metro) also recognizes that
whenever a crime or other illegal incident occurs, the media surrounding the incident
can hurt the city’s image. Thus, Las Vegas is continually trying to balance the demands
of the media to tell the truth as they see it, with the need for responsible reporting and
the realization that the further one is from the incident’s location, the longer it lasts in
the public’s mind and the worse it often seems.
Tourism and travel is a vital industry for Las Vegas; its police department recognizes
this fact. One of the ways that it serves the local tourism industry is that Metro has,
among other divisions, a dedicated area command police substation in the convention
area and at the airport. Often police see crime as problems or events that need to be
solved; tourism officials tend to see proactive policing measures as necessary. The
discussion over a proactive or reactive police force then goes to the heart of the
controversy. As this chapter is being written, this discussion is very much ongoing. Part
of this can be seen in Las Vegas’ police training. The police department does not offer
special tourism security courses, but rather provides generalized police-created security
training. It also does not use a special tourism uniform. The police department does
offer special courses in counter-terrorism, and other topics that might impact tourism
either directly or indirectly such as motorcycle or bicycle training.
Because philosophically Las Vegas Metro views tourism security as a normative part of
its mission rather than a special mission, funding is often limited. These men and
women deal with such “tourism crimes” as vehicle burglary and prostitution or issues
of pickpocketing. The police department is continually developing new techniques to
deal with these issues. For example, the Las Vegas police department uses Lock, Take &
Hide, a prevention reminder program. Metro posts this program at the Las Vegas
airport and several hotel resort properties. The police and security chiefs’ association
also has a fax notification system. They use this system to disseminate crime trend
information and missing/wanted person information to all hotel resort and retail
properties in real time.
To supplement the number of police officers in the tourism zone, Las Vegas also relies
on a number of hotel properties whose own security staffs interact with the local police
department. Many of these “private” security agents have been in law enforcement
and/or the military and add thousands of extra eyes and ears to the tourism security
mix. This private–public partnership approach provides Las Vegas with a great deal
more security than the mere police numbers might reflect.
Las Vegas has a Tourism Security Chiefs Association. This committee allows both
private and public security chiefs to exchange ideas, to network with each other, and to
discuss any security or safety problems that may confront the city’s tourism industry.
For example, the city’s security professionals are well aware of the fact that Las Vegas
receives millions of visitors from around the world and not all of these people speak
English or may have different attitudes toward law enforcement or security personnel.
Even something as simple as taking a report may become a highly complicated matter
when different languages are spoken.
The following is an interview with Ray Suppe, the head of security at the Las Vegas
Visitors Convention Authority. He presents his analysis on how Metro (Las Vegas
police) interacts with tourism and also how tourism security is seen from the civilian
perspective. Because Las Vegas is such an important tourism city, Suppe’s interview is
especially important in our understanding of tourism security. It should be noted that
Suppe is only speaking about the Convention Center District Command of Las Vegas. He is
not an official representative of Las Vegas Metro and does not purport to speak for
Metro. However, as a tourism security specialist and as the person who must oversee
security at the city’s main convention center, Suppe’s interview affords us with a
glimpse into the “intersection” of policing and tourism and security and business
(Figure 9.4).

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