LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Hundreds of tourism leaders from around the world are gathering in Las Vegas this week to discuss issues impacting tourism safety.
The 26th International Tourism Safety Conference is getting underway at the Las Vegas Convention Center where leading police, marketing, and tourism officials were discussing the latest trends in tourism safety.
Terrorism is expected to be a primary focus at the conference, given the recent attacks in San Diego, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand - as well as the arrest of a Southern California man accused of plotting to detonate an improvised explosive device over the weekend.
"Part of the conference is to make sure Las Vegas is known not only as the capital of tourism but also tourism safety," Dr. Peter Tarlow with Tourism & More Consulting said.
While the impacts of terrorism on tourism have been known since the 9/11 attacks, experts say the key is terrorist acts are typically isolated and preventable.
"Here in Las Vegas, if you go back to 9/11 you'll remember almost a third of the population lost its job," Tarlow said. "For every attack on the United States - we can stop most of them."
The more consistent threat for those promoting tourists hot spots like Las Vegas is a petty crime that is often committed by people who spend less time plotting.
"The reality is most of our time is spent on crime," Hal Kempfer, CEO of KIPP Inc. said.
Kempfer highlighting for attendees the importance of using tourism-oriented policing practices to make their presence known in hot spots but also to use the risk assessment tool to be prepared for other threats wherever they may arise.
Many of the tips being pushed by Kempfer and other experts at the conference are already in place in Las Vegas.
"Things that we talk about here get quickly transferred to actions on the ground in these other cities," Kempfer said.
One of those practices is the tourism-oriented policing that is was recently put in place by Reno police to make tourist more aware of their presence.
"Greeting people, asking how their vacation is going, walking with them instead of just giving them directions," Lt. Joe Robinson said. "What brings you to Reno, and if their answer doesn't have a tourism type response maybe it gives you a reason to look a little more into the reason for their visit."
The conference continues through Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center but is not open to the public.