Fresh off his one-on-one with President Donald Trump, Jon Taffer joined KTNV’s Dave Courvoisier to discuss the interview and issues impacting Las Vegas’ hospitality industry ahead of Tuesday’s election.
Taffer, host of the reality show “Bar Rescue” that helps struggling bars around the country, invited both major presidential candidates on his “Jon Taffer Podcast” to discuss plans to help restaurants, bars, and convention-related businesses. The president’s camp took him up on the offer.
WATCH THE FULL RAW INTERVIEW ABOVE
“There were four key points,” Taffer explained about his conversation with the president. “The first is a renewal of the PPP plan, but he put 6 months of debt into the commitment, going back - which means a lot to be able to cover that kind of debt. The second one is big. He wants to reinstitute the business meal deduction. That would mean a lot to the convention and business-related tourism. The third is a domestic travel incentive which would mean an awful lot to us. In essence, there would be a 30%-40% tax or other type of incentive to facilitate domestic travel. We put that domestic travel incentive, business meal deduction in place and a little dollars to catch up on debt and payroll, that sounds like a meaningful plan to me.”
Regardless of whoever wins the presidential election or local races, Taffer suggests those are four policies that could help an industry that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, both in regards to jobs and revenues.
“I also don’t think this is based on who wins this election. I believe this will happen after the election either way. Clearly the restaurant industry is not a partisan industry - both sides are supportive.”
To that end, the self-described “Las Vegas guy” who has lived in the valley for 8 years thinks those that work in the industry will be single-minded when making their selections at the polls.
“I think (the hospitality industry) needs to vote selfishly at this time because the issues are so great at the table,” Taffer said. “I am so worried about my friends who aren’t working or if they are working their income is down. Who is going to jumpstart our state and our business quicker? Who is going to get our hotel rooms full quicker? When that happens, our lives all start to stabilize. So to me, that’s a critical element to this vote.”
And his outlook for the city he calls home? He’s optimistic.
“I think international travel is going to take a much longer hit. If international travel is less appealing (and) we get a domestic travel incentive in place, Las Vegas starts looking like the greatest travel place available for a couple of years.
“I see a real opportunity this spring post vaccine. I think we need to hang in there, let this happen after the election and again I see boomtown this spring.”