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Harry R.
Democrat NV

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  • Tribute to Rossi Ralenkotter

    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2013-03-04

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    REID. Mr. President, I rise to recognize a milestone in Nevada history as my friend Rossi Ralenkotter celebrates 40 years with the tourism industry. As president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, LVCVA, Rossi has been influential in transforming Las Vegas into a globally recognized brand and an entertainment destination. I am proud to honor him today.

    After moving to Las Vegas in 1951 and graduating from Bishop Gorman High School, Rossi served our Nation in the United States Air Force. Upon returning home to Southern Nevada, he entered the tourism industry. Las Vegas hasn't been the same since.

    Rossi championed the use of research and data in developing advertising and marketing strategies for Southern Nevada. He helped establish the LVCVA's research department in the early 1970's.

    [[Page S1085]] This innovative approach transformed advertising and marketing for the LVCVA.

    Rossi was part of the effort to bring professional sports to Southern Nevada and he convinced the Triple-A baseball affiliate in Spokane, WA, to move to Las Vegas. He worked in partnership with other communities to bring NASCAR and the NBA All-Star Game to Southern Nevada. When the National Finals Rodeo outgrew Oklahoma City, Rossi helped persuade the event to make Las Vegas its new home.

    By the 1990s, Rossi was overseeing incredible growth in Southern Nevada's tourism industry and changing the face of Las Vegas from a regional gaming market into an international resort destination. Rossi was part of the team that developed the most successful tourism ad campaign in history. Today, Las Vegas is synonymous with ``What happens here, stays here.'' Rossi was named Co-Brand Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine for his work with this advertising campaign.

    Every resident of Clark County has benefited from Rossi's successful marketing and branding effort. Tourism supports jobs for 370,000 Southern Nevada residents and generates more than $41 billion for the local economy. Today, 20 of the world's 27 largest hotels and resorts are located on Las Vegas Strip. And our resorts count on Rossi and the LVCVA to help fill rooms. Under Rossi's leadership, Las Vegas has also transformed itself from a weekend destination into the number one trade show destination in North America for 18 consecutive years. With the slogan ``Vegas means business,'' Rossi and his team have attracted and signed multiyear contracts to host major conventions from the Consumer Electronics Show to the International Apparel show known as MAGIC.

    Rossi's magic touch and marketing brilliance caught the attention of national leaders in the tourism industry. Last year, Rossi became the chairman of our Nation's largest tourism group, US Travel. He was appointed to the Commerce Department's Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and serves as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism. The American Marketing Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association have both presented Rossi with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    While everyone knows that ``What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,'' it is my honor to make sure that what has happened on Rossi's watch is properly recognized. On behalf of the U.S. Senate, I am proud to congratulate Rossi Ralenkotter on 40 years in the tourism industry. All Nevadans have benefited from his leadership at the LVCVA and I look forward to many more years of working together.


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