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12/25/2004

Weak dollar helps tourism

Filed under: — 10:51 pm

Certainly one has already heard about the “weak dollar” our economy is facing. The USD is nearing record lows against currencies like the yen, pound and euro. The thing is, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As in any market, the deficiencies are made up elsewhere. International countries have greater purchasing power in the United States and will, thus, do more business with American companies. As Reuters reports the “phenomenal exchange rates” drive demand; especially for tourism.

East coast cities have seen a dramatic rise in travel and hotel sales. The article goes on to report that the Travel Industry of America has seen its first increase in inbound travel since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This may be a key factor, the dwindling fear of terrorism has encouraged travelers to come and do their Christmas shopping in America. With the airfare and exchange rate many visitors still come out ahead. It appears as if travel and tourism may be rebounding.

Las Vegas plans to expand

Filed under: — 10:26 pm

…well, it may not be the city that’s planning on expanding, but the New York Times reports that James Murren, President and CFO of MGM Mirage, has plans to develop 66 acres on the strip into a “mini-Manhatten”. What’s this plan all about? Murren is aiming at the goods and services that provide better margins…

“If you were to look at our company - putting all the pieces of it together - 10 years ago about 65 percent or maybe more of our revenue would have been from gaming and 35 percent would have been everything else,” Mr. Murren said. “Today, only about 44 percent is gaming. And I bet that if you give us less than 10 years, the whole thing will have completely reversed: 35 percent will be gaming and 65 percent will be nongaming.”

Thus, expect to see “condominiums, boutiques, restaurants and movie theaters” in the near future. That’s right, if all goes to plan, Las Vegas may no longer be merely a weekend stop.

But, raise your hand if you didn’t see this coming. As the article hints at, do you see Mr. Trump putting in new slot machines? The casino market is more than saturated. Think about the future implications: can you say urban sprawl? I really hope they get traffic sorted out between now and then.

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