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The U.S. gaming and entertainment mecca of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been a popular destination for Chinese tourists over the years, and city professionals and travel industry players alike have taken notice of this by rolling out a variety of special services and promotions to help sweeten the Las Vegas experience for Chinese guests traveling to the city this Lunar New Year.

While the ongoing U.S.-China trade war is weighing on casino revenues, Las Vegas is still expecting to see significant Chinese tourist arrivals during the Chinese New Year holiday — despite new statistics that show Chinese tourist spending on international shopping has declined over the past year. Fortunately, Las Vegas offers a wide range of activities that the city hopes will encourage more “experiential” consumption instead.

There are numerous shows set to entertain visitors throughout the Lunar New Year travel period this year, including the much-hyped Michael Jackson ONE performance by Cirque du Soleil. Meanwhile, restaurants throughout the city, including Hakkasan at MGM Grand and TAO at The Venetian, have created exclusive New Year’s dinners that cater to Chinese tourists’ palates.

las vegas chinese new year

Chinese New Year in the Desert will feature traditional performances, including the dragon dance. Photo: Shutterstock

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the city welcomed 260,300 Chinese visitors in 2017 (an increase of 11.7 percent from the previous year), making China the third-largest international source market for Las Vegas, after the U.K. and Australia. The LVCVA has yet to publish its data for 2018.

Chinese New Year begins on February 5th, but the city will host a variety of activities throughout the holiday travel period beginning on January 30th, according to data released by Ctrip.com International. Here’s just a sampling of what Las Vegas is offering Chinese tourists this year:

  • The Cosmopolitan will kick off its Chinese Lunar New Year activities with a digital exhibition in its casino lobby from February 4th to 21st of custom-designed digital art titled “Willa the Pig” in celebration of the Year of the Pig. The hotel will also hold a traditional Chinese “lion dance” on February 7th, and the hotel’s restaurant, Red Plate, will serve a ten-course “Emperor’s Feast” for $388 (RMB 2,617) per person as well as special Year of the Pig cocktails.
  • The eighth annual Chinese New Year in the Desert begins on February 8th with a VIP dinner sponsored by the French cognac brand Rémy Martin and will include events at the Fashion Show Mall and the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. The dinner will also include performances and a cultural fashion show. The following day, downtown Las Vegas will host a parade followed by a party at Downtown Container Park that will include traditional Chinese performances and a hockey clinic, courtesy of the local NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights.
  • The Bellagio has a Year of the Pig display representing the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees in Guangzhou in its Conservatory and Botanical Garden — accompanied by traditional Chinese music — to help ring in the new year. The 14,000-square-foot area will be filled with the Chinese designs until March 9th, and the hotel even offers a live webcam for those who want to experience the display but are unable to visit.
  • The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian will host traditional performances for the holiday on February 5th with fan dancers filling the Atrium and surrounding a 3,000-pound, 16-foot tall golden pig. To encourage tourists to spend more at local shops, they will also pass out 250 red envelopes containing special deals and gift cards.

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