Reno Needs Five-Year Plan

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority may hire Minneapolis firm Convention Sports & Leisure to prepare a five-year plan for the resort community. Some businesspeople in the area have complained that there is no long-range plan to stoke tourism and development.

Study could cost 0K

The board of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority is expected to hire Minneapolis-based Convention Sports & Leisure to develop a five-year plan for growth in the area.

“It’s critical to have a plan to see where we are, and where we are going, and how we are going to get there,” “said John Farahi, CEO of Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. and owner of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. “Getting a plan done is one thing. Implementing will really be the critical issue.”

Farahi, a member of the RSCVA board, has been lobbying for a five-year strategic plan for more than a decade, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We have no long-range plan for this organization,” Farahi said in the past. “We keep talking about these things and we keep not doing it. I’d like staff to do a long-term plan.”

The board will decide at its December 4 meeting if it will contract CSL to develop the plan, which could cost about $150,000.

Chris Baum, CEO of the authority, agrees the community needs a plan to “take it to the next step.” Richard Wells, president of Wells Gaming Research in Reno, agrees. “This is a deep dive into Reno as a destination, the customer and potential customer, and a study of destination and competition, who we compete with for visitors,” Wells said.

CSL’s John Kaatz says Reno-Sparks lacks a distinct identity that could help vacationers understand its appeal. In 1998, the firm did a study on the economic feasibility of expanding the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. “Lack of identity” was true then, Kaatz said. “There still is some of that 17 years later. That’s still an issue.”

He also talked about the region’s many assets. “Where else can you get the gaming Las Vegas offers and then in an hour be at Lake Tahoe? Reno-Tahoe is not like anyplace else,” he said.

Farahi said the plan needs to be put into action to “get the job done.” Baum added, “It’s not a static document. What we don’t need is a big binder for the bookshelf. What we need is a living document to maximize our opportunities to get the best level of business for this destination.”

“It’s easy to do a strategic plan where most of it is feel-good fluff,” said Wells. “The purpose of our plan is a plan with some teeth in it. We’re trying to find a way to move the needle upward rather than bump along the bottom.”