Eric Whitacre, Grammy-award winning composer, and Joe Veneto, tourism industry product development expert, are among presenters at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Also scheduled are the Nevada Marketplace global trade show and a special viewing of “The 36th Star” exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Grammy award-winning composer Eric Whitacre, a native Nevadan and noted speaker on innovation and creativity, will deliver the keynote address at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Oct. 27-29 at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno. Whitacre is best known for his groundbreaking Virtual Choir, a digital project that brings together thousands of singers from around the world in musical collaborations. He also has made his mark as an inspirational speaker, addressing such groups as the UN Leaders Programme and the World Economic Forum. At the Governor’s Conference, presented by Nevada Tourism, Whitacre will talk about developing the compelling experiences that help magnify a brand.

The theme for this year’s Governor’s Conference is “Creating and Marketing the Experience.” Additional speakers include management consultant Joe Veneto of the Experience Lab, Gary Oster of the U.S. Travel Association, and digital marketing expert Kyle Lacy. A global trade show will bring buyers from Brazil, Mexico, China and South Korea. Gov. Brian Sandoval will deliver an address to the industry and Lt. Gov. Brain Krolicki will present opening remarks.

“Nevada’s tourism industry stands at a very exciting crossroads,” said Lt. Gov. Krolicki, Nevada Commission on Tourism chairman. “In most areas of our state, visitation- and tourism-related revenue have recovered to pre-recession levels — an affirmation to the world-class caliber of our existing tourism infrastructure and to those incredibly talented individuals engaged in the hospitality industry.  

“While this is certainly welcome news, the tourism industry continues to innovate and invest, thereby raising the global-leading tourism bar even higher,” Lt. Gov Krolicki continued, “laying critical groundwork for what is anticipated to be a surge in international visitors and the construction of spectacular new properties, which will soon be opening their doors to the world. The importance of this evolution cannot be understated. Tourism continues to be our state’s leading industry, generating $2.8 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2013 and accounting for 29 percent of all employment.”

That long-term outlook depends, in part, on the visitor experience.

“Hosting both domestic and international visitors in Nevada provides tourism industry entities many touchpoints with guests,” Claudia Vecchio, director of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said. “From the moment a guest enters the state to the interaction with lodging properties, attractions, museums, restaurants to bus and cab drivers, every experience between the industry and guests must be considered.

“To be successful, each touchpoint must convey the statewide brand’s promise of an extraordinary experience,” Vecchio continued. “These experiences aren’t just a good idea, they’re essential to differentiating Nevada as a destination and to building business. The conference sessions will help all types of tourism entities learn and put into practice experiential marketing and product development principles.”

Conference attendees also will take part in a special viewing of “The 36th Star: Nevada’s Journey from Territory to State” at the Nevada Museum of Art. Participants will be able to view a replica of the Emancipation Proclamation — and if they choose, extend their stay in Reno to see the original version, a rare opportunity as the document is only displayed a limited amount of hours per year. The Emancipation Proclamation, which hasn’t been in Nevada since World War II, will be displayed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and 2.

The conference also offers sessions including a panel featuring Madeleine Pickens of Mustang Monument and Rob Hendricks of the Whitney Peak Hotel (additional panelists to be announced) discussing how to create unique lodging experiences; an introduction of Nevada Tourism’s new cooperative marketing program; and insights into groundbreaking technology and marketing concepts.

Registration for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism now is available at GovernorsConference.org. Early bird registration ends Sept. 19.

The Nevada Division of Tourism is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. Nevada Tourism is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination to domestic and international travelers. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Nevada Tourism is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visit www.TravelNevada.biz.