For Nevada and Las Vegas, this is the easiest problem to solve. Since 90% of global wealth is situated in foreign countries, we must facilitate the ability of people holding this wealth to spend it here. Fundamental to understanding this issue are two facts: 1) foreign governments have no objection to their citizens’ visiting the United States and 2) 100% of the blame for the poor foreign visitation numbers in the US can be attributed to our own government and its failure to issue sufficient visas. The situation would be analogous to a store owner who attracts thousands to the store opening and then stations guards to prevent anyone from entering his store! A huge number of people want to visit Las Vegas and spend their money here. I estimate 1-3 hundred million in China alone. Last year the US issued 1.5 million visas in China. During the same time four million people visited the European Community, which is 3rd or 4th on their list of preferences. This anomaly is due exclusively to the ease with which Chinese people can acquire a visa to Europe. Five million Chinese visitors would gamble as much as 40 million Americans ($6 Billion) and China is #1 in foreign travel expenditures ($100 billion in 2012). China is forced to buy $2 billion PER DAY, and its government is constantly lecturing the US to produce goods and services to soak up this money. Every 33 foreign visitors create one American job; 5 million would create more than 150,000 jobs—the number that the State lost since 2008. The Chinese people love Las Vegas, would love to spend billions of dollars here and can create all the jobs we need at ZERO cost—but our government won’t let them.
So what can a State Senator do? At first glance, not a lot. However, our Senate Majority Leader can do everything that our economy needs. Through his body language during my interchange with him at the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, he revealed his understanding (guilt?) that he has not done enough to cause airplanes and people to fly to Las Vegas from Asia. If my efforts to discuss this directly with him after my election to State Senate fail to bear fruit, I would work on convincing the governor and other significant political figures in the State to stage sit-ins on the White House and Congress lawn! This is a no brainer, but no one else articulates this simple, no-cost solution. I will not stop working on this issue and will encourage the legislature to join the movement toward allowing states to grant foreign visas. Just granting an automatic visa to any Chinese national visiting Macau (because these are the only Macau visitors who are screened by the Chinese government) and to any Chinese national holding a European Community visa. The State could even make money issuing these visas because many Chinese expect to spend two or three times the amount of their air ticket to the US in order to get a US visa!